"Gravetrancers #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Black Mask Studios
Written by M.L. Miller
Illustrated by James Whynot
Colored by Dee Cunniffe
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on December 13th, 2017
You’ve heard of marijuana, heroin, and bath salts, but what about inhaling the fumes from burning human remains? How’s that for your next high? That’s one of the elements at work in Gravetrancers and it is somehow the least creepy thing about the book. The comic follows Maribel and Anthony as they set out to find their father’s grave. When they arrive at the cemetery, they meet the bizarre family that runs the place and get a peek into their nefarious plans.
There is an unmistakable feeling of dread that flows through every page of Gravetrancers. You can tell from the moment Maribel and Anthony get to the cemetery that this will not end well. The best representation of this is in a large image of their car pulling up to the gates. Artist James Whynot and colorist Dee Cunniffe create this dark and dreary walled garden. It’s like this was ripped right from a ghost story. Any sane person would have come back in the morning, but the siblings just want to get this over with.
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There’s a very Texas Chainsaw Massacre vibe to Gravetrancers, particularly after Maribel and Anthony get to the cemetery. The family is downright unsettling. Every single person in there is just plain weird. I doubt you’d run into them at the supermarket or something, but if you saw them out in the world, you’d take steps to avoid them at all costs.
Whynot’s artwork has a trippy quality to it that is only amplified by Cunniffe’s colors. It reminds me of a more down-to-earth version of Alexis Ziritt’s work, as if you’re seeing the world through a demented lens. The foreboding starts early in Gravetrancers grows exponentially when we get into the cemetery and meet this family. Every image screams, “Get out of there!” but of course, that wouldn’t make for much of a horror story. Instead, these characters get pulled deeper and deeper into this abyss and you can tell it’s not going to end well.
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There are more than a few cringe-worthy moments in Gravetrancers. These images are just so disturbing that a chill can run up your spine. Writer M.L. Miller steers into this feeling. You can’t look away as Maribel and Anthony head face first into their doom.
Gravetrancers will shock you to your core. There is no sugar coating this story. These are dangerous people and there is absolutely no guarantee Maribel and Anthony will make it out alive, let alone in one piece. That makes for one terrifying horror comic.