A tale for the Big Orange Couch.
Okay, so this isn’t a meeting of the ghost-telling crew from Are You Afraid of the Dark?, but the tone feels right at home among their spooky stories. Drew Edward Johnson has begun a new, artist-driven work stemming from his love of old pulp stories from days gone by and is trying his hand at adapting that tradition for a new audience.
Johnson drops us into a time of yesteryear, with explorers in a slightly post-Steampunk world, chasing down a mythical beast. Immediately, we’re enveloped in the signature style that the artist draws his influence from, and the touch of the past gears us up for the adventure to come. This issue is a perfectly balanced piece of world-building, melding exposition with engaging mystery, allowing our curiosity to become enlivened and pushing us to want more, which he deftly holds back. With science and mythology mixing, this feels much like Hellboy or The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but with a fresh, unique style that seems welcome to that kind of world. There’s much given in this premiere issue without explaining too much, almost but not quite reaching the overload moment.
Johnson has a wonderful feel to his work, and you can see the depth of his love of the style on every page. The hyper-real feel is tuned enough to make fairy tales come to life without feeling cartoony and grounds the work of the fantastic with great imagery. There are constant surprises throughout the issue, visual storytelling working underneath of the text to compel and complete the narrative for us. There’s a wonderful moment just past halfway, where you’ll marvel at the deftness of a huge set piece move, highlighting the technology of the world and telling its evolution all at once. It’s a wonderful marriage of image and text, and Johnson proves he’s a master at both.
If you dig a little spooky monster hunting grounded in realistic settings with a heaping dose of mystery ladled in, you should definitely jump on board.
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*Midnight Society will be released in June. Be sure to pre-order your copy at your local comic book shop by Monday, May 18.