Ice Cream Man #1
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: W. Maxwell Prince
Artist: Martín Morazzo
Colorist: Chris O’Halloran
Review by Anelise Farris
Having thoroughly enjoyed The Electric Sublime by W. Maxwell Prince and Martín Morazzo, I was super excited to hear about their newest collaborative series. Ice Cream Man #1 is, as you might have guessed, about an ice cream man. However, he’s not just here to scoop out ice cream. He’s here to change lives, and not for the better.
Each issue of Ice Cream Man will center on a different cast of characters, and in this first issue we meet Byron, a young boy, and his poisonous adult-hating spider named Rupert. After Rupert visits the ice cream man, we follow him home to discover a horrifying scene in the family’s kitchen. Not to give too much away, but Byron’s parents have been MIA from their jobs for over a week, and two detectives are sent to make a house-call. We also become privy to news that a werewolf-like creature is going around eating housecats and such, and, of course, a certain truck-driving, man of sweets is involved.
Prince is a master at clean, sharp dialogue, filled with dry humor and a heavy dose of existential dread. There is the literal bug (okay gigantic, horrifying spider to be exact) in Ice Cream Man #1, but Prince also plays with bugs as a metaphor for those things that gnaw at us from the inside-out: guilt, fear, regret, etc. This gives a literary weight to the comic and definitely places it in the sophisticated, smart horror category.
The coloring in Ice Cream Man #1 is absolutely gorgeous. We see solid black trees against pastel-colored skies, that will leave you both unsettled and mesmerized. And we can’t not talk about that spider. Bug horror (is that a subgenre?) continues to exist for a reason, and this comic has you frantically searching the panels to make sure that the spider is still contained within the book. We observe various people who have no idea how close they are to possible death, as the spider lurks here and there. The ice cream man himself appears innocent enough; however, that quickly changes by the story’s end. There is also a lot of great panel variation, and a unique mix of different lettering styles throughout.
Verdict: Buy it!
Ice Cream Man has the potential to be my new favorite series of 2018. The creative team deftly brings together horror and existentialist thought and delivers it in one sweet package. Pick up a copy from your local comic shop on Wednesday, January 17.