COMIC BOOK REVIEW: WOODEN HEART / AUTHOR: DAVE MCCLUSKEY / ARTIST: LEOSAYSAYS / PUBLISHER: DAMMAGED COMICS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
There is a fine tradition in small press comics to tell a tale as scary as possible. Well-done spooky stories with suitable twist are always welcome and a fine way for writers and artists alike to show off their talents. Quite frankly, the world needs more horror comics. After all, it’s not the ‘50s anymore.
Wooden Heart is a one-shot mystery horror comic set in two different periods of history; 1812, and the modern day. In the past, we have a spooky carnival coming to town and a series of unlikely (and deeply unfortunate) events. Back in the present, we have the plucky Detective Finn, who has been saddled with a series of locked room homicides to solve and very few clues apart from some exceptional hunches to run on.
McCluskey weaves a strong little tale, quickly establishing his core characters broadly yet simply. There isn’t anything particularly new or original here, but there doesn’t need to be; all that’s required is a scary story told well, with plenty of material to keep the reader turning pages. McCluskey does this effortlessly and with great promise.
Leosaysays art has a grungy, distorted charm of its own that suits the piece very well indeed. The colouring is slightly problematic; it’s too bright to really be very spooky, and the entire tale may have worked better in greyscale. Still, this is a minor niggle, and the exaggerated art style does fit in nicely with McCluskey’s rather direct storytelling technique.
Wooden Heart’s biggest problem is that it is a short story. The characters and backstory are strong enough to go on much longer, and there’s plenty of potential here, both in terms of art and story. With any luck, Dammaged Comics will deliver some more classic horror stories sometime soon. We look forward to seeing them.
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