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‘Cornmother:’ Advance Comic Book Review

After young Ruth finds a corn husk dolly in a nearby barn, she has a dream about a mysterious woman who shows her unending summer while stroking her hair with scratchy hands. The curious child obsesses over the meaning of the Cornmother’s message until she is driven to a dangerous choice with horrifying consequences.

Creator Alex Leda’s Cornmother is a piece of atmospheric horror that creeps up on readers rather than jumping out to get an instantaneous scare. A lot of the tone reminds me of the 2015 movie, The Witch, since both media focus on setting and beliefs rather than grotesqueries or shocks to create the scene. Initially, I felt oddly disappointed in the straightforward plot, but as I mulled over the events, they settled into my bones. If I had lived in an era where the legend of the Cornmother passed between communities, everything in this graphic novel would feel possible and true. There’s something far darker in knowing that people believed this could – and possibly did – happen if the rituals and rites weren’t followed.

As I’ve suggested, the main plot to Cornmother is very simple: A young girl sees a Cornmother doll in a local barn and has a dream about a strange woman that convinces her to ask more questions about the doll. The child finally flouts custom by taking the doll out of the barn, which has dire results. Ruth, in many ways, is the reader avatar, since we learn about the ancient folk belief through her exploration. The ending feels particularly painful since Ruth’s innocence is manipulated to create the final outcome.

The artwork for Cornmother feels dreamlike which is a beautiful way to introduce this haunting tale about folk beliefs. The current world exists in darker browns, red-browns, and blues which I believe reflects the post-harvest season for the community. (Fall has arrived, and winter is coming.) Conversely, Ruth’s summer dream blazes with warm yellows, reds, and oranges, reflecting the season’s warmth.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about Cornmother after my first read since the simplicity left me wondering if I’d missed something; however, as I sat with it over several days, it sunk into my core, and it hit me that the original belief was sinister and disturbing. While I may not dwell on it every day, I don’t know if I will ever be able to shuck an ear of corn and pull off the cornsilk without thinking back on this! Fans of horror that creeps in like fog definitely should pick this up; it will not disappoint.

4 Agitated Coops of Chickens out of 5

Creative Team:  Alexandra Leda
Publisher: Blue Fox Comics
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Jodi Scaife, Fanbase Press Social Media Strategist


Mid-30s geek type with a houseful of pets, books, DVDs, CDs, and manga


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