A Review By Greg Driver Twitter: @Battou
I'd love to get these things done more often! I enjoy doing it but I sometimes struggle to find anything to say between podcasts. Not because there is a lack of things worth talking about, oh no! But because sometimes trying to do this, is like one of those horrible nightmares where you open your mouth to scream in the presence of some supernatural assailant or other horrifying series of events (be it earthly or not), and are rewarded with nothing but pure silence. The air seems to move back into your lungs and you choke. Your mouth is like space, like a vacuum... In the event you do find a sound it is an insignificant squeak and you feel as though it should remain unheard. The point I'm making is when I do find it hard to say anything, aside from the aforementioned squeak I'm going to publish those squeaks here for better or worse! So from here forward im going to talk here about some of the other Comics past, present, current or classic, that I don’t get around to on the cast!
I’m going to kick this off with a really good new title I have picked up and devoured like some ravenous cosmic entity sustained by the delectable energy provided by the printed sweet spot where art and words meet.
The book I want to talk about is Bone Parish #1. This book is, on its surface, a crime thriller. It reads like a heavy, humid night full of tension. The kind of night where you wish for a storm. That storm is on the horizon, It’s building, It's supernatural and you should be careful what you wish for.
I was sucked into the idea of this book immediately, a combination of the blindingly cool standard cover ( featured in the banner and at the end of this article) and the name Cullen Bunn whose work on “Harrow County” along with Tyler Crook, yielded one of the best horror comics I have had the pleasure of reading.
Upon picking up Bone Parish you are immediately struck by the image of a splayed out pile of bleached-bone-white powder on a solid black background. There is a razorblade placed beneath it. Instantly the mind moves to narcotics, and then you see that the splayed powder is in fact shaped like a skull. I struggle to imagine a more fitting visual introduction, and primer for what to expect with this comic.
The story takes place in New Orleans. It starts with a family trying to make a name for themselves in the criminal underground and build an empire on the back of a new drug to hit the streets that they have developed. The drug is called “Ash”. The drug is a powerful hallucinogenic, you don’t just see things, you experience and feel them. The sinister part? This drug is manufactured from human remains. Bones. Your experience when using the drug depends upon exactly whose remains were used in the manufacture of the particular batch from which you are taking your dose.
This first chapter plays out wonderfully in the way it builds the tension and sticks you with barbed hooks that will keep you on the line and leave you craving more. The creeping introduction of the heavy occult shadow that looms over this book is just one of the many ways that it achieves this. The art on display here fits the tone of the story perfectly, combined with the colour work it really communicates the mood of the story and draws you deep into this dark environment, full of shadows and eldritch goings on.
There is a wonderful sequence at the beginning of this issue where I think the artwork really flies high, We see an ash user in the midst of a trip. Singing out loud in public and miming almost uncontrollably, the actions of a rockstar on stage. It transpires that he is actually experiencing the concert fully as the vocalist of a rock band who appear to be playing to a festival crowd. The panels of the sequence switch between the real world showing our subject in a drug addled state in muted shadowed tones, and panels showing what he sees awash with ethereal pinks and purples. The whole 3 page sequence comes together with horizontal panels and a beautiful full page image that help to create a real sense that the events of the experience and the real world are happening simultaneously.
This book presents an excellent opening to what promises to be something very different, A supernatural crime thriller from the perspective of the criminal. There's a storm is on the horizon, it’s building, it's supernatural and I want to see what happens when it hits!
Bone Parish #1 is Published By Boom! Studios and was released on 25/07/2018
Bone Parish credits:
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Illustrator: Jonas Scharf
Colourist: Alex Guimarães
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Cover: Lee Garbett
Variant Covers: Rod Reis, Tyler Crook