Sunday, November 4, 2012

30 in 30: Witchfinder vol. 1

#3: Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels
Storytellers: Mike Mignola & Ben Stenbeck
Publisher:  Dark Horse
Year Of Publication: 2010
Page Count (can be approximate or in # of issues format): 152 pages

In other media, creating a proper sense of unease is essential to a good horror story, which is something that can be difficult to achieve in comics.  But with this book, Mignola and Stenbeck manage to set that mood in the first issue through some non-sequitur transitions between the main narrative and panels showing close-ups of ancient carvings.  It’s something I’ve seen done in Mignola’s Hellboy stories and it works well here.  The transitions are disjointed, as they just “pop up” in the middle of a page without any captions or reason.  This not only jars the reading flow for a second but also takes your mind away from the story at hand and has you wondering what it means.  It’s not dramatic, but it is effective for this type of story.

Listening to a podcast about movies this past week, the co-hosts discussed the fact that a simple way to help convey horror in film is to shoot daytime scenes in very bright, well-lit areas, and to film night scenes (the more horror-oriented) in deep darkness.  And though it may seem obvious, it’s a good lesson to keep in mind when writing horror, and one that Mignola does well with his spotting of blacks.  In this story, Stenbeck really works to utilize that Mignola sensibility while keeping to his own style, utilizing heavy blacks and deep shadows for the night scenes that are meant to be more horror-oriented while opening it up in the day scenes.  And it works really well.  Sometimes the best lessons are the simplest ones.


This was a fairly typical “Mignola-verse” comic. Nothing stood out, for me, story-wise or art-wise.  That said, the fact that it was “typical” means it was well done and entertaining.  It won’t blow your mind but it will entertain, especially if you’re in the mood for a Mignola book.


No comments: