Thursday, February 23, 2017
Creepy "The Belfry" a homage to gothic frights
Borrowing elements from Jeepers Creepers and Lost, Gabriel Hardman's new one-shot The Belfry explores the crash-landing of a plane on an isolated island that may as well be run by Lucifer himself. The place is occupied by strange, demonic creatures with large, flappy wings, and their objective, it would seem, is to bite the remaining survivors and convert them to their type of vampirism. If I should ever happen to find myself in such a conundrum, I imagine my first reaction would be absolute terror, followed by the thought, "Now that I've soiled my pants involuntarily, where the fuck can I get a fresh pair on this godforsaken place?!?"
Doubling as a writer and illustrator, Hardman creates a world that is dark, ghastly and just plain old gothic. His artwork is dirty, and in some cases confusing and unclear; perhaps that is his intention, to murk the line between reality and nightmare. The ghoulish nature and appearance of the monsters reminded me of Scott Snyder and JOCK's Wytches, but with an ability to fly, which makes them that much more devastating. The narrative is of rather bleak nature, and by the time we get to the final page (the story ends rather abruptly), we realize that there is simply no other way a horror story of this ilk could've concluded.
The Belfry is an effective horror comic, and considering that it'll have no follow-ups or sequels, it's even more admirable that Hardman was able to incorporate so much dread and fright in so few pages. I may not necessarily want to read it again, but I'll surely remember its vision of hell-on-Earth for a long time.