"Witch Creek Road #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Written by Garth Matthams
Illustrated by Kenan Halilovic
Colored by Amb3r
2017, 39 Pages
If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: STAY OUT OF THE WOODS! You're thinking of going camping? Maybe a scenic hike up a mountain? Don't do it. You will be eaten, stabbed, or pushed off a cliff. Clearly the kids in Witch Creek Road didn't heed my advice, as they head off into the wilderness for a weekend of debauchery. Unfortunately, they make a wrong turn and run straight into some flesh-eating demons who...well...eat their flesh. Hate to say I told you so.
Witch Creek Road checks off so many boxes in the horror movie trope checklist. It's a smorgasbord of gore and terror. You want to see a co-ed's face sliced in half? You got it. What about one getting ripped in two? Done. Artist Kenan Halilovic delivers a cavalcade of bloodshed that would make even the strongest among us squirm. There is no subtlety here. There is certainly a place for that, but not in this case. It amplifies the enjoyment of the book, as you're wondering what insane kill is going to happen next.
|Click images to enlarge|
Amb3r's colors are a terrific pairing to Halilovic's line art. They give the instant feeling of a classic horror movie, especially when the blood starts to flow. It's as if the gore gives the entire comic a reddish hue. Of course, getting the blood right is the key to a great looking horror comic and it's definitely right in Witch Creek Road. There's a terrific set of panels where it's literally raining down from a torn-up corpse, covering everything it touches. It looks incredible.
The aforementioned flesh-eating demons are three pale women clad in tight leather. Their eyes are black as night. They move slowly and deliberately and they're here to sow chaos. They delight in the carnage they create as blood splatters over their ivory faces. The demons remind me a bit of the Black-Eyed Kids with their stoic positioning and ruthless nature.
Writer Garth Matthams takes time to introduce the kids (aka the victims). The first chunk of the book focuses primarily on Sara, a blonde with a monotonous life who gets caught up with a bunch of popular kids. There are a few pages that show just how boring her life is, with a series of small square panels, each showing one repetitive step after another, such as breakfast, class, lunch, class, etc. This works well to show just how mundane her world is, however it goes on for a bit too long. One page, or even half a page would have been tough to get that point across, but this goes on for four pages. Granted, there are some disruptions in there as she meets a boy from the football team and makes some plans, however it's still largely centered on those small panels with her day-to-day life.
|Click images to enlarge|
This kind of pacing comes up again with some dialogue later on, when one of the guys is telling derogatory jokes about a rival school. It goes on longer than a Family Guy bit, beating a dead horse until there's nothing left but dust. What's odd is that while these sequences go on too long, the ending is very abrupt. I certainly hope there's more to this story because it gets cut off right when things are really heating up.
Witch Creek Road is a blood-drenched ode to classic horror. It's a fun play on that classic trope where a group of sex-crazed teenagers head into the woods looking for a good time and find something horrifying instead. It's worth checking out to see the gorgeous artwork alone. You will never look at an evisceration the same way again.
Originally on Kickstarter, Witch Creek Road is now being posted as a web comic and can be read for free at either Tapas or LINE Webtoon. Both have been optimized for reading on mobile devices. Or, for a more traditional comic book experience, you can also read Witch Creek Road at www.releasingtheserpents.com.