Winnebago Graveyard #1
Publisher: Image Comics ©2017
Script: Steve Niles
Artist & Design: Alison Sampson
Color Art: Stephane Paitreau
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Cover Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Variant Cover: Mingjue Helen Chen
Guest Art: Donya Todd and Jen Bartel
Essays: Sarah Horrocks and Casey Gilly
With a title like this I had no idea what to expect. Once I saw the cover I knew I was in for a treat. I figured it out this was a horror comic, which honestly I never read though should due to my love of the horror genre in film. Winnebago Graveyard follows a family on a vacation in their Winnebago through southwest America and gets stranded at a creepy carnival. The characters do feel like typical tropes like the easily angered father, the jerk teenager busy on their phone and the mediating mother. Yet, it works. Niles is a longtime horror comic writer; therefore he gets the genre well. The comic opens with more or less a scare scene but it is simply an introduction and serves as good hook without answering any questions. There are no cheap scares, pacing is great and my one problem was the comic ended without answering questions and on something of a cliffhanger. When in the end I figured it out if this was a horror movie this entire issue is basically the first 10 minutes or the characters before they go into the haunted house or right as they enter the haunted house before they explore it. Therefore Niles gets horror and isn’t playing a full hand at the beginning.
Alison Sampson has a unique art style where in the beginning of the comic I felt I was in a sort of 1940’s back country voodoo New Orleans setting. There is a great amount of line work on everything – skin, environments, backgrounds, hair and everything has detail. I think one of Sampson’s best things is characters’ hair as not exactly messy but real, not just outlined wig pieces that some artists draw. The people are very human, not super models. I won’t deny there is one panel of the mom/wife Christie is far from flattering where I cannot read her expression well or the man in the introduction I swear it was the resurrection of Ted Kennedy due to his looks. The coloring too from Sampson is on the same level, fitting well with each scene. The carnival has great use of warm colors and the night scenes with great use of cool colors. As much as she tries to brighten up the daytime scenes she adds this dirtiness with the browns and tans, clarifying this is a desert setting. Sampson has a great way to make creepy things in the environment in the middle of a non-horror scene with the Clown sign or the weird rabid looking Chesire Cat entrance.
The comic has this wonderful kind of grindhouse feel to it, like a Rob Zombie film but minus the excessive language of huge redneck character casting. The cover is great too but conflicts me to a more voodoo, supernatural threat but the southwestern setting makes me think more we will cross a threat like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I look forward to the second issue and you should too.
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