So as most of you know I’m a huge supporter of self-published books and I love the horror genre so when I discovered this, and completely by accident by the way, I had to read it! I’m really glad I did too because while it has elements to it that I find familiar the way it all comes together is something that makes it unique. I kind of had a fanboy moment when I was reading this as well as its description because there are so many things here that makes it feel like the perfect storm.
There are legends, urban myths or just old wives tales about the house that travels the world, or the haunted house mythos and of course in modern times we get the whole group of investigators trying to find proof and go missing. This kind of combines all the old and new tales into one story and boy is it good. I love the era in which this is set and the location. The fact that they’ve decided to use soldiers who of course are trained (supposedly) and they are the perfect candidates for this because I mean they are in a foreign country fighting a war, hunger and fatigue so they are in essence vulnerable to what they are about to go through.
I think the writing here from Philip is really strong, the way the book is structured gives us a chance to see how things change and evolve over time. Kind of start the legend and then get to a point where it’s well known throughout the land. It’s well conceived and executed. I am and I’m not surprised by how well thought out this whole thing is, the afterword explains why, but it had to be because of how well all of this feels. There are parts that make me see The Keep, The House on Haunted Hill and even The Rose Red House and all of it kind blends so that it feels familiar and yet different at the same time.
So there’s also what I like to think of as the anticipation factor which causes those heightened senses and gives off the heebie-jeebies vibe and when your reading if you have pets who sneak up on you or you hear a sudden sound it could cause you to jump a bit. This is the kind of storytelling that leaves a mark upon you. Also this whole thing is a set up issue to introduce us to what is going on, give us the general information we need so can we can move forward. Already it’s strong and interesting with this oomph that reminds of when I was young and watched black & white horror movies instead of being asleep, truth be told my cousins did that on purpose to scare me lol.
Drew lays down some very nice work here and majority of the panels have backgrounds and you all know how I feel about that—muy importante! More so since they are inside this house because it’s creepier when Drew brings that in. He has a very good eye for storytelling as we see through the use of page layouts in their angles and perspective. The people need a little work but hey the human body and all these individual faces take time to master. Jen does some nice colouring here too with how the shading and eeriness she tones the book with.
So you’ve got a group of American soldiers with one POW in their custody and a snowstorm that has steered them away from their path and right to the house. Like the house cause the storm to bring them to it. Not possible right, creepy when you think about, very ‘House on Haunted Hil’l and a nice way to get things started. So what happens in the house once they get there well you’ll have to see because first impressions mean a lot. Though I think it’s next issue when they really begin to understand what’s going on.
So for those of you who love horror are going to thrill to every page of this. It’s also very much a story story as well because there’s a mystery surrounding the house, how and why things happen as well as seeing the soldiers react and you can almost taste the confusion and fear sweeping through them already.
Fresh, thrilling and completely throwback modern (my own term) this is one of those you’ll need read in the daytime.
If you want a trade of this they’ve got a kickstarter going right now, and it’s the best way to guarantee your copy!
The House #1
Sucker Productions 2017
Written by: Phillip Sevy
Illustrated by: Drew Zucker
Coloured by: Jen Hickman
Lettered by: Frank Cvetkovic
Reviewer: Steven Leitman
Summary: Lost in the woods during a violent storm, a squad of US Soldiers take shelter in an abandoned manor house only to find the horrors inside are worse than anything they could imagine.
Summary: The adventure begins here! When Miru crash lands on the world of Gaia, he inadvertently becomes the most wanted creature around. Along with a rag-tag band of allies, Miru begins his journey to save all existence from the devious Dr. Monopoly and his wicked master, the demon king, Samsura!
Miru is a dragon with amnesia who fell from the sky, discovered by the android/sentient rat team of 9teen and Scribbles. A local wiseman/shaman tells the duo that what they have found is a dragon, though dragons were banished a long time ago, then sends the three on a chase for some sacred text that might reveal the secrets of Miru’s surprise return. And so the adventurers set forth, doing what adventurers do and run into both help and hindrances’ along the way. So, yeah, overall, the story and characters in The Adventures of Miru are old hat within the realm of comic book fodder but J. McClary and Rick Laprade rehash it here with a fun, breezy fresh coat of color. It’s also very evident they did it with a lot of heart.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of Miru is the characters. 9teen, the sentient android and partner to Scriblle, a smart-ass rat, are the indie answer to Rocket and Groot. The titular Miru, a dragon of some sort, plays the perfect MacGuffin, a role generally reserved for whiny and mostly vanilla characters. Sure, he’s still a bit whiny but in a funny, odd-looking dragon way. Kayelyn, some sort of underground, ass-whooping, Elven princess, out to help the three travelers at even the cost of betraying her people (who she learned had betrayed their principles in agreeing to help Dr. Monopoly capture Miru.) I also have to give some very serious props to the design choice of the star villain, Dr. Monopoly. Wearing a visible brain enclosed in a glass orb on the top of his head, this mechanical (half-dino, half machine?) Barney the Dinosaur-looking rogue is certainly one of the most visually entertaining of the year. Simply, at their core, the characters that make up the Miru’s world are overly familiar and are particularly complicated, but they’re given enough depth to keep them interesting and, most importantly, likeable.
The aggressive world-building, while vague at times, is highly commendable. McClary and Laprude cram a lot of story, action and especially, well-written, mostly cheese-free dialogue.Actually, I was quite surprised at the depth and competence of the dialogue and it’s one of the strongest elements in Miru. As for the illustration, McClary’s playful, very colorful art suits the title well. There are times when it’s a bit sparse or the characters looks a bit wonky (most often in close-ups) but there are also several moments of shining achievements, such as the fire dragon splash and Kayelyn’s subterranean appearance.
If you enjoy action-packed, steampunkish romps starring a group of likeable misfits, then The Adventures of Miru is a book you should definitely not hesitate to pick up. It’s a true diamond in the rough. Like an ear-wormy, radio-friendly pop song, Miru is no re-invention of the well spun wheel but it’s definitely a lot of fun and throws in enough slight variances to the normal course of similar stories to keep things interesting.