RED ROOM, Ed Piskor’s much-hyped new series from Fantagraphics, has finally arrived. And it’s the gore-splattering, blood-dripping horror comic masterpiece you have been waiting for. But we warned…entering the RED ROOM is not for the faint of heart.
Red Room: The Anit-Social Network #1
Written, penciled, inked, and lettered by: Ed Piskor
Published by: Fantagraphics Books
Aided by the anonymous dark web and nearly untraceable crypto-currency, there has emerged a subculture of criminals who live-stream and patronize webcam murders for entertainment. Who are the murderers? Who are the victims? How do we stop it?
Red Room is being billed as a series of stand-alone issues in a shared universe, and this debut certainly sets that up. Issue# 1 introduces us to Davis Fairfield, a seemingly schlubby and mild-mannered court clerk beset by a car accident that kills his wife and one of his daughters, with his oldest daughter, Bree, surviving. But in the tradition of Tales From The Crypt (and other pre-code horror comics) things take a dark, dark twist with Davis (SPOILERS AHEAD!).
See Davis is much more than a court clerk, he’s a snuff stream watcher and creator and because of that he is recruited by the Thelema family and becomes our eyes and ears into this new world (this a great bit of storytelling by Piskor.) The Thelema family is a group of murders who run one of the biggest red rooms in this world and they are the stars of Red Room. Costumed and themed, the Thelma clan is as if the Texas Chainsaw Sawyer family adopted wrestling gimmicks. It’s an idea that allows Piskor to create some crazy killers and concepts, and if this first issue is only a glimpse, then we are in for a brutal gallery of sickos. I can’t fucking wait.
The art in Red Room is comics and cartooning of the highest caliber. Anyone who has followed Piskor knows the man is extremely detailed. He fills pages and panels to the brim. Red Room is no different and in fact, seems even hyper-detailed. A lot of this is due to the various cartooning tools and techniques Piskor is using. Duotone, heavy-shading, cross-hatching and much more are prevalent on just about every page. And the level of detail is of course outstanding. The layouts and lettering are also fantastic, with pages using inventive things like ‘webcam’ POV panels and chatroom conversations.
The character designs are to die for. As said before, each killer has a ‘gimmick that allows Piskor to draw some great costumes and sets. It’s a great visual hook that opens up a lot of possibilities and that ‘rogues gallery’ is one of the main draws of the book (personally I’m hoping for a ‘killers’ trading card set or some kind of Who’s Who book!).
Red Room is definitely going to be one of the best comics of the year and frankly, a MONTHLY title like this a rare and should be supported. So make sure you add it to your pull list and enter the Red Room!