Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Blacky Shepherd
Colorist: Thiago Ribeiro
Letterist: Troy Peteri
Publisher: Dynamite Comics
Review by Greg Brothers
When the solicit for Pumpkinhead #1 came up, I was equally intrigued and perplexed at the same time. First off, I am an enthusiastic fan of Cullen Bunn. I am an even bigger fan when Bunn does horror. I was a bit perplexed, however, that a horror movie based on a cult classic character was dropping in February. Typically, that is not a good sign.
Pumpkinhead #1 starts a long time ago in the woods of Appalachia. An old grandmother has prepared her many grandchildren to go into the woods to claim their own demon before it claims them. It is here where we first meet Haggis who is last seen searching a pumpkin patch for her demon. Fast forward from then, to now. A reckless driver has killed two children in the same woods of Appalachia. While he does not seem concerned with his crime. Those around him worry about what unintended consequences his actions have uncovered.
As I said before, I am a huge fan of Bunn when it comes to his horror writing. Thankfully Pumpkinhead #1 does not fail to deliver. From the first page, the creepy is turned up to eleven. The idea of everyone having a demon that they must lead and if they don’t the demon will get them is already disturbing. Add there’s the fact that the people going out and looking for their demons are a bunch of backwoods middle-school-age girls; this is enough to make your skin start to crawl. Bunn builds and builds the tension throughout the book and from panel to panel, until the final payoff in the last panel–which does not fail to deliver.
One thing that really stood out in Pumpkinhead #1 was the difference in dialogue among the cops, the murderer, and the grieving family. The cops and people in town carry on long drawn out conversations as they try to investigate the crime. Meanwhile the grieving family in the woods says very little and their actions speak more for them. They have a simple goal, and they do not need to explain what that goal is. This adds to the eerie tension throughout.
As good as Bunn’s writing is, it is the art that pushes this book to its full potenial. There are panels in the beginning that have this fog in them, and with the way they are drawn and colored I could almost feel the fog around me as I read Pumpkinhead #1. It was truly an odd feeling. With every panel you can feel the emotions as the family plans its revenge. With nervous glances out windows, the fear of those that know what could be coming is palpable. The character designs are done well, as the children are drawn in a way that shows their age.
Buy it. Pumpkinhead #1 is everything that you can ask for in a horror comic. The suspense builds all the way through the story, continuing to keep the reader engaged, all while avoiding many of the overused horror tropes.