WRITER: LAURA MARKS | ARTIST: DAN MCDAID | PUBLISHER: DC BLACK LABEL | FORMAT: SINGLE ISSUE | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
American horror comics have been making a firm come back of late; after all, the pairing of words and pictures is perfect for a good old-fashioned scary story. Daphne Byrne is part of DC’s new Black Label series of comics, which are aimed at the adult market. Specifically, it’s part of Hill House Comics, a collection of stories curated by horror’s latest darling, Joe Hill. Daphne Byrne is a tale of the dead set in the 19th century. The titular Daphne has recently lost her father, a man who spent his life devoted to rational things. She misses him terribly, and so does her mother. Daphne’s a smart girl in a creepy world, and things quickly take a turn for the dark.
Kelley Jones’ artwork is reminiscent of the EC Comics era as well as some of the better parts of DC’s own Vertigo comics era. The art boils off the page in that slightly rotten and visually striking way, a style that’s very much part of American comic book storytelling. The script is from Laura Marks, who is better known for Brain Dead, the political satire about alien bugs eating human brains. Her writing in this book is similarly dark and cynical, which is an excellent start. Daphne Byrne feels like a fine beginning to a range of horror stories and return to form for DC; we can’t wait to see where this story goes.