There’s something incredibly unsettling about stalkers. Maybe it’s the way they creep about in the shadows, watching but rarely being seen. Maybe it’s their ability to dive into the darkest crevices of their obsession’s life, getting to know their victim intimately. Whatever it is, they are just about the creepiest criminals ever.
MINOR SPOILERS BELOW
Close turns the tables on a stalker by letting the reader into the more private moments of his life. Written by Chris Sides, Close takes the reader on a journey with Jared Close who has been convicted of stalking celebrity actress Kerry Amos. The comic opens with Jared being released from prison and going back to his favorite hobby, stalking Kerry. When he witnesses her murder, he becomes the number one suspect. Despite having evidence revealing the real killer’s identity, he can’t present it to the cops, lest he admits his guilt in stalking her again. The flashback glimpses into Jared’s arrest and other scenes work well and flow seamlessly with the rest of the story, providing additional insight into Jared and his crimes.
Jared Close is definitely not a hero, nor could he be classified as an anti-hero. He’s a greasy guy who no one would want to know in real life. Kudos to Sides for writing him as such. It would have been easy to try to force the reader to empathize with Jared, but if any empathy is to be had, it’s not because the writer told us what a great, misunderstood person this stalker is.
I also loved the little details of Jared’s excuses for stalking Kerry. They felt authentic, as did all of the dialogue. Jared didn’t seem to exude any remorse for his actions, but it’s clear he knows right from wrong. Even when he’s the “victim” of circumstance, he’s never really a true victim. In fact, out of the entire cast of characters, there probably isn’t one “lovable” character to root for, creating an unusual, but fun tale. But, it works by making the reader squirm in their seat as the disturbing plot unfolds and races toward the surprise ending.
The art lends well to this task. It’s gritty, scratchy, and dark. The same as Jared and most of the characters. The art feels sketchy in its black-and-white tones with great shadowing. Looking at the comic as a whole, there’s probably no better way to draw a story like this and get the same feel for the characters and the situation. Chris Travell not only drew the comic but was a co-creator with Sides, which is easy to see in his work. He effortlessly brings the characters and settings to life with that perfect amount of chilling detail, while paying special attention to ensuring the characters look the same as they behave. The cover art (Colin Lorimer) is also outstanding in capturing the entire story in that one image of Jared looking through his prison cell bars at the object of his affection.
Close is a great comic from this team, and it’s one that suspense, thriller, and crime readers will love. Be prepared to double check your windows and doors at night, however. You never know when someone like Jared Close is lurking nearby.
Creative Team: Chris Sides and Chris Travell (creators), Chris Sides (writer), Chris Travell (artist), Ken Reynolds (editor/letterer/designer), Colin Lorimer (cover artist)
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