Bedtime Games is a really interesting comic book. It feels like one of the classic books from EC Comics – Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, Weird Fantasy, etc. – only instead of filling in all of the blanks with endless narration, it takes its time, really letting the characters settle in. In fact, most of this comic focuses on the characters, very much like the first half of a Stephen King novel. The build is slow, but it’s well constructed.
The setup is pretty simple: Three friends plan on stealing a key from a professor at their school, and then they will sneak to a locked door near a lake at night which has a tunnel inside and travel through that tunnel to make it out the other side. Part of the thrill of it for them is that a kid died in the tunnel and it’s now off limits. Curiosity is the driving force for this little adventure, and the thrill of maybe getting caught. Typical senior-in-high-school kind of stuff.
Of course, there’s a reason why this door looks like it’s been sealed for a thousand years, and like most stories in this vein, things don’t go as planned. They, instead, escalate until a really intriguing element is dropped into the book near the end – something very supernatural. I have no idea what that means exactly for the three friends, only that they are in way too deep over their heads.
Part of the charm of the book is the art by Conor Nolan who reminds me of a cross between Kelly Jones and Richard Corbin. This really brings out that old-school horror comic book feel. Nick Keller brings to life our three leads while fleshing out their backstories, none of which are all that pretty.
Overall, it’s a strong start with some interesting possibilities. It’ll take the next couple of issues to see how great this book actually could be.
Creative Team: Nick Keller (story), Conor Nolan (art), Kelly Fitzpatrick (colors), John J. Hill (letters), Katii O’Bried (editor), Ethan Kimberling (designer)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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