Gideon Falls, the new Image Comics ongoing series by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino, is bringing haunting and disturbing psychological horror to comic shop shelves this March.
Gideon Falls #1
Written by: Jeff Lemire
Art by: Andrea Sorrentino
Colors by: Dave Stewart
Letters by: Steve Wands
The lives of a reclusive young man obsessed with a conspiracy in the city’s trash, and a washed-up Catholic priest arriving in a small town full of dark secrets, become intertwined around the mysterious legend of The Black Barn, an otherworldly building that is alleged to have appeared in both the city and the small town, throughout history, bringing death and madness in its wake. Rural mystery and urban horror collide in this character-driven meditation on obsession, mental illness, and faith.
Gideon Falls is a very tightly written book. It’s a master class in using dialog and conversations as a tool to flesh out characters and drive the narrative. It’s also a perfect example of using pacing to build dread and mystery. As stated earlier, this is something very difficult to do in a medium that relies only on words and pictures. But Lemire makes it work. With each turn of the page, the story not only unfolds further but raises the tension. At one point, during a brilliant parallel narrative sequence near the end of the book, I actually held my breath.
The two main characters, Father Fred and Norton, are both fantastically realized characters. Obviously flawed and carrying burdens and baggage, you immediately connect with them and are drawn into their respective stories. When these two cross paths, it’s going to be a great moment.
Andrea Sorrentino has always been one of the best artists in the business, especially when it comes to panel layouts and page design. Gideon Falls has some of the most inventive and evocative work from Sorrentino yet. His use of negative space creates a sense displacement and unease that heightens the narrative. Panels are placed in unique ways; he is a master as juxtapositioning (just check out the below image for a great example). He also draws faces that carry so much weight and emotion you can feel by just looking at expressions. There is also a texture to his art that is very tactile.
Dave Stewart’s colors work like cinematic photography does in a film. Mood and atmosphere are heightened. You can honestly almost feel the lighting.
And something has to be said about Steve Wands minimal yet no less impacting lettering. The hand-drawn look of the font fits perfectly with the story and ‘sound effects’ have the appropriate punch that makes them essential.
Gideon Falls is going to be one of 2018’s best new books. It has all the components of a classic and is further proof that horror may be the next big genre that the comics medium might make its own. Don’t sleep on this and visit Gideon Falls and The Black Barn.