From acclaimed creator Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT, Grass Kings) and artist Tyler Jenkins (Peter Panzerfaust) comes a new supernatural thriller with a furry twist in Hairball #1. Featuring Hilary Jenkins on colors, this opening chapter does a stellar job of setting up an unnerving premise while withholding enough info to keep audiences strung along for the ride. With an alluring, disturbing script and atmospheric & fitting art, this opening chapter will have creepy comics fans begging for more.
“A young girl with a black cat begins to suspect the innocuous beast is behind all her troubles: her parents fighting, family plagues, and innumerable supernatural horrors. As she tries her best to rid herself of this creature, she discovers that maybe the cat is not evil after all and a greater terror may be behind these horrific events harming her life.”
Writing & Plot
Matt Kindt poses a kind of supernatural mystery with his script for Hairball #1. This distanced narrative is told from the perspective of a young orphan girl as she recounts recent events to her therapist. Her adoptive parents are already struggling financially and emotionally, and the actions of her mysterious stray black cat are compounding the issue. Kindt’s overhead narrative combines with sequences picked out over time showing the deteriorating situation in the household – and the gross, unnatural actions taken by this malicious feline. Possibly the most effective part of Kindt’s opening chapter is how little info he gives us on this cat. It just shows up and this family adopts it, then nasty and terrible things start to happen. Kindt also plants the plot in a sort of recognizable reality. The adoptive parents are not very capable, and quickly grow resentful of the child they’ve adopted – a reality seen all too often in families both adoptive *and* biological. It’s a mix of painful, relatable events and the twisting of something considered more pure – owning a pet – that make this story ripe for horror potential. Kindt’s careful plotting and the building of increasingly creepy events makes for a great opening chapter.
While a great script is obviously important, horror comics are built on their visual experience. Fortunately for Hairball #1, Tyler Jenkins is on hand to deliver an unsettling and atmospheric experience with his unmistakable style. His rough-hewn style and heavy inks gives this creepy little comic a distinct indie horror feel that becomes noticeably more menacing as the plot progresses. The cat itself is of course the central part of this experience, and Jenkins delivers on creating a strangely off-putting feline. It’s that Pet Semetary effect where it mostly looks like a normal cat, but *something* just isn’t right with it. Jenkins injects a sense of spiteful, knowing malice into this black cat’s eyes that makes the little creature all the more foreboding – and that’s before it starts doing the weird and gross stuff. Jenkins’ sequential direction carries the book along at a steady, careful pace while dragging the reader deeper into the book’s atmosphere. He utilizes a lot of dark, open space in the panels to make scenes feel more claustrophobic. This is of course aided by Hilary Jenkins’ color art. The void of black that comes as an extension of the cat adds to the little animal’s sense of foreboding and power that it holds over the story. The rest of the colors as a whole lean on the more anemic side of the color spectrum – and this is meant as a positive. The whole visual experience delivers on this strange, threatening atmosphere with such an unsuspecting assailant at the core.
Hairball #1 is an enticing and surprisingly unsettling first chapter to this supernatural horror comic. Matt Kindt’s script holds back on backstory and exposition in order to focus on the tense human relationships – and increase the surprise and disgust when the creepy stuff settles in. The visuals from Tyler and Hilary Jenkins are wonderfully atmospheric and thoughtfully sequenced, using empty space and dark color to make the reader fell trapped in a house with this monstruous little cat. Be sure to grab this debut issue when it hits shelves on April 5th!