Writers: Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt
Artist: Tyler Crook
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cullen Bunn has a thing for creepy mansions. His latest effort with Brian Hurtt (Sixth Gun), Manor Black #1, adds to a southern gothic horror repertoire that includes Harrow County and Cold Spots. And, if the opening issue is any indication, it does not disappoint as an example of the genre. In-fighting among a fading dynasty of sorcerers for control of a decaying estate provides the backdrop for this entertaining Dark Horse miniseries.
The most notable aspect of this comic is the blend of horror elements with a subtle comment on race relations. In Manor Black #1, Roman Black is the dying patriarch of a white aristocratic clan who must choose an heir to continue the dark arts. But rather than pick among his selfish kids, he prepares a young black woman under for control of the estate. Only Ari can save the Black family and protect them from the forces that want to destroy their legacy.
Crook, the artist, previously worked with Bunn on Harrow County and understands the task of building a suspenseful story. He shades the interiors of the Black family mansion in bleak hues to reinforce the idea of a family fading into irrelevance. His shadowing and loose line-work heighten the uncertainty as we follow the mage’s encounter with Roman Black. The result is a fruitful collaboration between artist and writer that should continue through the miniseries.
Manor Black #1 hits comicbook shops on July 31, 2019.