Winnebago Graveyard #1
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Alison Sampson
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
A review by Anelise Farris
Winnebago Graveyard #1 will feel immediately familiar to anyone who loves horror films, especially 1970s Americana horror, and I mean that in the best way possible. Winnebago Graveyard #1 starts out with a hotel sign, proclaiming vacancy in all its neon glory, on a deserted road at midnight. From here, the first half of the issue presents us with a scene that feels like it came right out of the opening scene of Macbeth: witches, or at least people in cultish robes, speaking of evil and humanity and what is to come. Seeing the hotel sign is basically classic horror rule number one: keep driving. Alas, a couple made the unfortunate decision to stay at the hotel, and they become pawns in this cult’s game.
The second half of the issue shifts to another family, road-tripping on a long, desert highway that could be anywhere in the west: eerie, empty, and just waiting for disaster. This is where Winnebago Graveyard #1 presents us with another classic horror scene: a sign advertising a carnival, complete with creepy clowns. And, of course, our unsuspecting family decides to take a detour and visit the carnival. The family seems to have a great time at the unusually empty carnival—that is, until they prepare to leave and it appears that their Winnebago (complete with their cell phones—yes, this isn’t the 1970s after all) has been stolen. Their only option left is to walk to the closest town: a place which promises not to be the safe haven they are expecting.
The art in Winnebago Graveyard #1 fits seamlessly with the story: it is realistic and the perfect mix of classic and contemporary. The artwork is dark and bloody, like you’d expect a horror comic to be, but the coloring is also surprisingly beautiful—especially the scenes outdoors. There is also interesting panel variety throughout the comic, and the use of small moment-to-moment panels is especially effective in extending the horror. It is smart move to set a comic that is unabashedly referencing 1970s horror in the present day, and I’m curious to see how they continue to play up these two worlds. Winnebago Graveyard #1 provides an ideal place for some unexpected twists to a familiar genre.
Buy it! Classic horror fan? Contemporary horror fan? Either way, you will definitely enjoy Winnebago Graveyard #1: an unsettling, beautifully illustrated new horror series set right in the heart of Americana.