Comic book duo Mike Garley & Michael Lee-Graham have melded their comic book minds together to bring us the ominously titled, Our Final Halloween, and with their Kickstarter running alongside the countdown to the day of horror, I was lucky enough to get an early look at their digital creation.
It all opens with a suitably sombre look at the village of Hallows’ Gate as another uneventful Halloween closes in on them with typical stories of locals straddling that thin line between ignoring and fearing the day itself. Cue five kids from the village waking up in a strange house in the village, with no short-term memory and covered in more blood than you can shake a pumpkin at and the mysteries only start to get deeper for them from the very beginning. We’re fully dropped in at the deep end alongside them but it’s a powerful way to get us on-board and feel like we’re part of it.
The scares, the sarcasm and the screams start firing off around them but working as a team they’ll surely be able to figure out what’s happening and how to survive in this house of hell. It’s never straight-forward for them though as the mind-games and subtle hints of sinister shenanigans creep in but Mike’s plot keeps us guessing all the way to the end.
I always feel that Horror stories tend to include their fair share of clichés and that the real mastery is weaving a story between them that’s got enough momentum to keep you hooked all the way through. Having already been a fan of Mike’s previous work, there’s no surprise that he does that with ease again here – the group he’s created and the situations he plays out for them are equal parts cruel & necessary as it quickly becomes clear that this is another example of how slick his work is when laying out a story.
He’s matched all the way by Michael’s artwork throughout and the claustrophobic surroundings of the hell house are given an exceptional sense of urgency with his style and a colour palette that packs it’s very own blood-soaked punches to hit you square in the eyeballs. That helps the surprise elements to hit with everything they’ve got and getting to the next page always feel like another look at some true art that just happens to be in comic form. Mike’s regular collaborator Mike Stock swoops in with his lettering & logo axe to help pull everything together and the whole team play a part in building a decent horror story that has shades of things like The Thing or Stranger Things without being a carbon copy or a lesser attempt – this is its own beast.
Normally I’d be down on the fact that it’s a digital only release but if anything that helps really drive home the emphasis on colour and the finer details on the art, so even that didn’t disrupt me enjoying this. Horrifically good in every way I don’t really want this to be their “final” Halloween but if it IS…….they’ve done it with one of the most impressive books I’ve read in a while.
Go grab a copy of this right now and get a ton of extras over on the campaign link below: