There’s definitely a burden of pressure with work coming out from Steve Niles. Not only that, but when he’s part of that old darkly dynamic duo with Templesmith, you can’t help but find yourself hoping for great things even if 30 Days…, like so many, started to sag after a while. And then when you throw another, utterly different artist into that mix in the form of M3, you risk throwing off everything. They’ve all produced tremendous solo work, true – and this collaboration doesn’t disappoint in any way.
Combining two long issues into one volume, each is a horrific (in every sense) and haunting exploration of obsession, desire and despair. Niles is writing at the top of his game here, and each issue is radically different: elaborate, Lovecraftian prose that counterpoints the hypnotic, elusive art of Templesmith; bare, Spartan, elegiac writing against the intricate photorealism of Menton3.
With Templesmith, we get a twisted tale of sex, drugs and violence. It could so easily be generic, and yet it manages to be riveting, compelling and – in all honestly – darkly erotic. It’s extremely clever, satisfying, and leaves you wanting more despite feeling vaguely disgusted (which is in and of itself the point, of course).
With M3, it’s an everyman tale, again revisiting classic tropes of horror – a loner/loser in a haunted house – but with an elegance and simplicity that defy belief. It’s the slightly weaker of the two, but that’s doing it a disservice, because it’s still a magnificently compelling piece of writing.
I was really impressed with this; it’s a real showcase of comic writing and art, and can’t recommend it highly enough.
The writer of this piece was: Sam de Smith
You can follow Sam on Twitter