Boneyard is a fun horror/humor series from cartoonist Richard Moore. It takes place in a graveyard, hence the title, and follows the misadventures of Michael, his demoness girlfriend Abbey and their friends as they encounter all kinds of bizarre and spooky creatures. The latest volume of Boneyard adventures sees the group encounter a certain very familiar chainsaw massacre guy as well as a very spooky pumpkinheaded guy who has the ability to show peoples’ deepest fears. Boneyard vol. 5 delivers a clever mix of horror, humor, pathos and character development in a seamless and fun style.
To me, the key to this book lies in how Moore showcases his characters. My favorite piece in the issue is a short sequence where all the characters play a touch football game together. Through this scene, Moore does a great job of showing what his characters are really like, how they relate to each other, and how real their friendships with each other really are. I got the sense that these characters really were an extended family. They may be the ultimate misfits – one character is literally a fish out of water – but these are creatures that have chosen to be together because they mean so much to each other.
Later in the book, Moore deftly undercuts the scenes of familial joy with scenes of characters’ worst nightmares. Some are cleverly normal, as the scene where the Frankenstein-like character dreams of his girlfriend sleeping with another male. Some are completely logical, as when the fish girl dreams she is back in a freak show. And others are just spooky, as the nightmare where the cat creature dreams that he has killed his girlfriend and is surrounded by the police.
The intensity of the scenes makes the story’s ultimate ending so much more satisfying. When Michael confronts Pumpkinhead, we readers really feel the rage and frustration that Richard does as he tries to stop the torture that his friends are experiencing.
I’m making this book sound dark and depressing, and it has its dark moments. But this book is also packed with humor. I laughed out loud over the tricks Michael uses to stay awake. And there’s a very funny second plotline where a villain who is a lot like Jason Vorhees from the Friday the 13th movies tries to attack a group of young and pretty girls. We see the girls do everything they can to trap the killer, from skinny dipping to sitting around the campfire singing dumb songs. The whole thing is a silly send-up of horror clichés that I thought was very funny.
Moore’s art is a nice match for his story. I really enjoyed how he drew the weird characters in this book with an endearingly cartoony style. No matter how outlandish the character, Moore seems to give them life in clever and interesting ways.
The only negative in the book is that for some reason it starts with a story left out of Boneyard vol. 4. Because of that, a new reader is plunged into one story in the middle, only for it to end a few pages later. But once that bit of business is out of the way, Boneyard vol. 5 gets rolling in some clever and entertaining directions.