"Crawl to Me: Evil Edgar Edition" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by IDW Publishing
Written and Illustrated by Alan Robert
2012, 130 Pages
Graphic Novel released on August 1st, 2012
Sometimes a bad situation can get even worse very quickly. Things can escalate and before you know it, you're on the brink of madness. This is how I felt when I read Crawl to Me. Written and illustrated by Alan Robert, the comic centers on Ryan Shelby who seems to have everything going for him at the very start of the book. He's moving into a new house. His wife and child are on the way over. His dog, Max is running around happy. This seems like a great new start...that is, until the intense police shootout next door. The cops show up to arrest Edgar, a disgusting looking child predator who refuses to go quietly. Everyone ends up dead except for Edgar, who is clinging to life when Ryan walks over to investigate. This is where things get strange. Edgar knows Ryan. How is this possible? Was Ryan one of this creep's earlier victims? Or is Ryan just off his medication? And what does his wife Jessica have to do with this?
Crawl to Me starts out with this huge bang and then proceeds to pull you in with each page. Robert's artwork looks like something out of a dream that's fading quickly as you wake up. The colors are off and things aren't what they seem. Ryan can't trust what he's seeing and maybe you can't either. This is what makes the book so scary. It's one thing to be wary of other people, but to not be able to trust your own mind is something on an entirely new level.
Click images to enlarge.
Edgar infected these people. He's a predator and traumatized more than just their bodies. Their minds and personalities are struggling to come to grips with what happened. We receive little to no details on what exactly Edgar was up to and in many ways, that's even worse. Whatever horrific things I was cooking up in my noggin were probably a million times more heinous than what actually occurred.
This all leads to an incredible twist ending. It isn't the kind of crap like "Oh, this is all a dream" or "Guess what? Everyone is dead." It's something way better that I feel will be copied in the future but not nearly as well done as it is here. Obviously I don't want to spoil anything here, but suffice it to say that it's the kind of finale that makes you want to immediately go back and re-read the book with this new perspective.
Robert told the story of Crawl to Me in just four issues. Each one starts out with a haunting full page image with no dialogue. It sets the stage for that chapter in a very ominous way. These are things like dark stairs leading up to a basement door or a basinet that may or may not have a child in it.
My only real qualm with Crawl to Me is that the characters occasionally look awkward or flat. It doesn't happen often, but it popped up here and there. Overall, the artwork is frenetic, like it's fighting to stay on the page. There's so much energy contained here that I'm actually surprised that Robert managed to keep the comic structured in normal panel layouts. The story easily lends itself to "out-of-the-box" art direction but just about everything presented here are in squares and rectangles.
Click images to enlarge.
This hardcover version of the book is subtitled "The Evil Edgar Edition" and includes some bonus content. There's a gallery showcasing each of the several covers for the series by Robert, David Lupton, and menton3 (who also drew the cover for this collection). In addition to that, there is an excerpt from the original script for the first issue and character designs.
Crawl to Me is like a sucker punch right in the gut, only it never lets you catch your breath. I plowed through this comic in one sitting. Yes, it's a relatively short read, but I did not want to put it down at all. The ending ties everything together in such an impressive way. The whole experience is rather haunting. It's not a book that you're going to forget anytime soon.