A few months ago I mentioned an upcoming comic series set to debut this summer by comic artist and Strange Kid Anthology contributor Drew Rausch called ELDRITCH! that seemed to channel the Lovecraftian spirit of horror. Well, it premiered a few weeks back and just as expected Drew, along his co-conspirator Aaron Alexovich, left me wanting more.
The story stars two siblings, Anya; a free-spirited, highly opinionated Darwinist, and Owen; a sort of outcast, Dungeons & Dragons sort of guy who’s seemingly taken his love of the unknown a little too far. In fact, one might say he’s taken it all the way to the “Outer Realms” and returned a little different than when he left… if by little you think black, squirmy tentacles coming out of your body are no big deal. Apparently it doesn’t bother Owen too much, but Anya dead set on putting an end to it quick.
The origins of Owen’s new “talent” is still to be revealed, but after exposing it to his sister under the guise of a magic trick Anya decides to go Scooby-Doo and starts knocking on some doors. That brings us to Mr. Newbarn and his “lovely” wife, Jess, a pair of colorful characters in their own right. The Newbarns make for an interesting family, especially considering their son is kept confined in darkness and the ceiling is covered in “twitching black masses” (never a good sign).
Drew’s artwork is a balanced combination of Henry Selick and Jhonen Vasquez which adds an element of cheerful gloom to the cosmic terror that Aaron is methodically unleashing. The pacing and dialogue are both on point and seem real enough to place its characters in reality, I found the opening sequence between Anya and Owen as a particularly nice moment. This is one book that I’d love to see in color, and yet the black and white format gives it a Twilight Zone feel.
When it comes time to sink or swim, ELDRITCH #1 has definitely got some fins… or tentacles (you get the ideas), scoring a whopping 5 out 5 squid-faces. AND for less than a buck per issue for digital download, you can bet I’ll be grabbing issue #2. Be sure to check the official ELDRITCH! site for all the juicy details on future releases.