James McCulloch has already proven that horror is the genre he’s inspired to write with the likes of City of Lost Souls or The Grime already being a part of his gruesome creations. Things have gotten significantly darker with his latest title though as he teams up with artist Pedro Mendes to bring the first issue of the three part story Little Girl Black.
The title alone should set the tone for what to expect from this opening issue and while it does promise a darker theme it doesn’t quite prepare you for what’s inside. It tells the story of high flying office worker Mr Watkins who has the darkest of dark sides you could imagine which we find out more about when he heads home from the office.
With sales and reports left behind he follows a strict life where everything has to be kept in order but in the basement of his extravagant home lies his secret. A series of cells where he keeps the women in his life under his complete control and he rules with a brutal iron fist. Extremely gruesome work from McCulloch as he builds a main character that we take an instant dislike to but one we’re forced to endure in uncomfortable fashion as he deals out abuse to his prisoners. While he’s referred to as “Daddy” by those he has trapped it’s never clear whether these are related and his actions later on in the issue leave that even more open to interpretation.
The cruel, gruesome world James builds is deeply disturbing and yet the artwork from Mendes is so clean that it’s an interesting contrast to the events themselves…..that being said, it fits with the main characters warped sense of reality and deep need for being in complete control. This helps make the issue unsettling which I think is exactly what James was aiming for…..so I’m sure in his eyes it’s “Job Done!”
While it may be a difficult read, it does have that car crash vibe to it where you can’t help yourself turning the page to see what else happens. Imagine Tarantino did a reboot of something like Silence of the Lambs and you’ve got the messed up world straight in your head……at least until you read it. A couple of years ago I would have hated this book but with a far broader appreciation of genre’s in comic books this is a notable addition to the horror comics I’ve grown to enjoy. Not so much for the over the top elements or for the scares themselves but for the brief glimmer of hope that some element of good could survive or endure the horrors in the world. It’s a three issue run so I’m sure that James & Pedro will bring more of the same with the rest of these issues and while it won’t appeal to everyone with it’s more extreme elements I’m sure that this has a place in most peoples reading pile. Go try it!
Keep an eye out for this from James at Glasgow Comic Con this July (2nd & 3rd). You can get hold of this and his other titles through ComicHaus and find out what else he’s working on over on his website too.