Gideon Falls #12 begins the story of the laughing man, the entity that inhabits the Black Barn in the world of Gideon Falls. This issue is a nightmarish puzzle box that begins in 1886 on the frontier, as Father Burke and other local townspeople, including the sheriff, discover that Norton Sinclair is behind a series of murders, and they go to his barn to get him. For those who haven’t been following along, Norton Sinclair is a recognizable name, and the barn is not a safe place, to put it mildly. We all know that this is the worst idea imaginable to go into the barn after Sinclair; they do not know that – but quickly find out. Father Burke is sucked into the world-altering reality of the Black Barn after coming face to face with the laughing man.
There is a full two-page spread from Andrea Sorrentino and Dave Stewart in this issue of Burke stepping/falling into two realities and it’s breathtaking – not simply in grandeur, but in metaphysical textures. The weight of this multi-universe existence unfolds before this one man who’s simply trying to understand and grapple with what he’s seeing on a very basic level. The imagery in this book puts you in this headspace… every time.
I think I’ve finally figured out why the laughing man haunts me so much. It’s his eyes, you can see right through him and see the background color that fills his world. It’s not just that he doesn’t have eyes, he doesn’t have the back of his head. He doesn’t make sense in this world of three dimensions; he’s a paper cutout as he disappears into his everything and everywhere.
The word that comes to mind while reading this issue is “necrotic.” There is a necrotic energy coming from this being, something that is the absence of life. Even though we’re twelve issues in, I feel like we’re still only scratching the surface of who this is and what’s actually happening here. A few scratches at a time is all I need. This is a great freaking series.
Creative Team: Jeff Lemire (story), Andrea Sorrentino (art), Dave Stewart (colors), Steve Wands (letters), Will Dennis (editor)
Publisher: Image Comics
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