“Beautifully twisted.” That is how I described the book to author Joshua Hale Fialkov when I read the first issue of his critically acclaimed horror miniseries, Echoes. When one hears “horror” and “comic book” in the same sentence, they usually picture things that range from zombie stories like The Walking Dead or 30 Days of Night.
The psychological suspense thriller is a type of story that is hard to translate into a comic book. The very nature of trying to build suspense on a printed page is almost unheard of. It’s just too hard to capture the audience and lead them where you want them to go and then genuinely shock them with a big reveal by the time they reach the bottom of a given page.
But writer Joshua Hale Fialkov and artist Rahsan Ekedal manage to do just that. And so much more.
You see, Brian Cohn is schizophrenic, as is his father. Brian’s father also has Alzheimer’s and in his final moments, in a seeming moment of clarity, tells his son about a house with a crawl space. He pleads with Brian to go to the house and find the box and give it to the police. “Dead girls…so many dead girls,” the father mutters. We then witness Brian’s life unravel before our eyes as he tries to comprehend what it is his father just told him.
Was his father crazy or will Brian find a box in the house’s crawl-space? Much like with Joshua Fialkov’s other work, Tumor, we find ourselves questioning whether or not what we’re reading in the story can actually be trusted. To tell you any more would spoil the thrill of witnessing for yourself the way the story unfolds.
Now, I have the individual issues. I have the first issue actually signed by Joshua Fialkov and Rahsan Ekedal, (Thank you, Top Cow!) but I knew I would want the collected book for one reason: The Special Features!
The hardcover collection also offers a section of special features that we all come to expect from our collected editions these days. (Let’s face it, not having a bonus section in the back is akin to buying a DVD and it not having any extra content. We feel like we were cheated out of some part of enjoying the experience. Withouth the special features, we are left with an almost empty feeling when we turn that last page.)
The original proposal is printed here, like Joshua did with the collected Tumor, and it shows just how completely the concept/execution of the story was even at that early stage. It shows us what each cover to the five issue series, including reprint editions, looked like — for those who didn’t collect the individual issues. My favorite of the bonus content (partly because of my art background) was the scriptbook section. It reprints the original pencils by Rahsan of the first issue, side-by-side with the script with a commentary on the pages by Joshua. It’s the equivalent of a director’s commentary on your favorite movie.
I can’t recommend this book more. If you’re a fan of horror or crime comics, then this book is for you.
When Steven A. Wilcox isn’t contributing to ComicsBulletin.com, he is a full-time student and father of four. He also is an independant comic book artist who enjoys talking and typing about himself in the third person.