From modern comics star-writer James Tynion IV (Batman Detective Comics; Something Is Killing The Children) and artist Gavin Fullerton (Bog Bodies) comes a horror story of humanity and vulnerability in The Closet #1. With colors from Chris O’Halloran and lettering by Tom Napolitano, this first issue is the perfect blend of compelling character writing and outright creepiness. With a career-high script from Tynion and intensely atmospheric visuals from the art team, this is a must-read first issue for horror buffs.
“Thom is moving cross-country with his family and dragging the past along with them. His son, Jamie, is seeing monsters in the bedroom closet and will not let them go.”
Writing & Plot
James Tynion IV once again reminds readers how great horror works with his script for The Closet #1. The majority of this comic is written as a sad reflection on one man’s failings and struggles in his relationship. This baggage and conflict in turn fuel the very horror that is being inflicted upon this couple’s son. This type of intimate, cyclical horror is what Tynion is best known for, as it’s similar to his approach in Something Is Killing The Children. However, this approach is much more sub textual yet deliberate in its messaging about how trauma and conflict affect kids. Tynion’s script is free of overhead narration, instead burying his meaning in the characters’ dialogue. This dialogue is also, as expected, brilliantly human. The conversations can range from poetic introspection to just a couple with a toxic power dynamic having a argument. Every aspect of the dialogue writing is memorable and human. However, possibly the most impressive aspect of Tynion’s writing is what he does when there are no words on a panel. His script directions for the silent panels are loaded with tension and meaning. For this comic it ranges from the dad silently staring at a beer glass, to a child confronting a horrific apparition manifesting in their closet. Tynion is at the absolute top of his game here, and I can’t wait to see how the rest of this series develops.
Horror comics can have incredibly compelling scripts, but that won’t mean anything if the visuals can’t sell the terror. This is why The Closet #1 has Gavin Fullerton on hand to deliver a deeply atmospheric reading experience. His character detail and set design are engrossing, allowing readers to get lost in the narrative and tone of this story. Character expressions are realistic and make us feel like we’re in the room, watching discussions and arguments take place. Fullerton’s compositions make these character-centered, mundane sequences feel naturally paced and more compelling with his choice of focus. This deliberate sense of pacing goes double for the creepy sequences where the horror comes alive. These are the parts where Tynion just lets Fullerton do the work, and it pays off in spades. The careful composition of these quiet, unnerving sequences and the slow reveal of the monster are genuinely chilling and are the work of a practiced pro.
The atmosphere of this book is brought together by the colors of Chris O’Halloran. His unique tones and darker color choices make this book stand out and keep the whole experience encapsulating and unnerving. The lettering from Tom Napolitano is memorable and matches the visual tone of the comic. There’s a kind of imperfect hand-drawn feel to the font that makes it stick out and be a part of the visual experience, but still feels natural to read. Overall, this is a visually outstanding horror comic that stands tall with some of the best in the genre.
The Closet #1 is a brilliant first chapter to this character-driven horror comic. James Tynion IV’s script is insightful and thematically rich, while still knowing how to bring the chills. The visuals from Gavin Fullerton and Chris O’Halloran are immaculately detailed and sharply composed, crafting a dense and tension-filled atmosphere from beginning to end. Be sure to grab this first issue when it hits shelves on June 1st!