Publisher: Comix Tribe
Writer: John Lees
Artist: Iain Laurie
Letterer: Colin Bell
Colours: Megan Wilson
Release Date: 29th October 2014
The first three issues of ComixTribe’s And Then Emily Was Gone have served as a gradual descent into the nightmarish world of Merksay Island and it’s disturbing secrets. Unnerving and engaging in equal measures, the series sucks you in with its strong and seemingly straightforward premise – a young girl disappears, seemingly snatched by a ‘fictional’ boogeyman, and a troubled man with a gift (or curse) for seeing monsters sets out to try and find her. However, the deeper we find ourselves sinking into the world Lees and Laurie have created, the more and more layers of depraved and surreal horror are peeled back, giving us brief, disorienting glimpses at the true nature of this story.
In issue four, things go from ‘deeply unnerving’ to ‘stomach churningly nauseating’ over the course of just a few pages, featuring some of perhaps the most gloriously grotesque artwork that I think I’ve ever seen spew forth from the pen of artist Iain Laurie – which, if you’ve seen a lot of his other work, is most definitely saying something. I’m not going to spoil any of the reveals, mainly because I wouldn’t know where to begin even trying to describe some of them, but Laurie is at his absolute best here, cramming his panels with teeth, tentacles and god knows what else. Megan Wilson continues to add immeasurably to the visual appeal of the book with her washed out, bleak colour palette of oranges and light greens, giving Laurie’s twisted artwork yet another level of disturbing depth.
In his trademark style, Lees manages to gradually pull all of his seemingly disparate narrative threads together in this issue as we see Emily’s father Gordon investigating the McBain Abattoir, Vin Eckland (all up in your vagina) arriving on Merksay with a bang, and Greg Hellinger gaining a little more insight from ‘Mental Jimmy’ into the monsters he sees everywhere. It would be easy for Lees to just spew out disturbing moments and creatures and let Laurie’s artwork do the rest, but there’s a definite feeling that everything is gong to come together in the final issue, and while it may not all necessarily end up making ‘sense’ – at least in the conventional manner – the final resolution to this story is all but guaranteed to be etched in our collective brains for a long time to come.
It’s safe to say that both the writing and visual style of And Then Emily Was Gone are definitely something of an acquired taste. Laurie’s artistic approach, with it’s disturbingly exaggerated characters and their twisted, contorted features isn’t going to be everybody’s cup of tea, just as Lees’ increasingly surrealist story with its fractured, nightmarish moments and disturbing reveals isn’t going to appeal to people looking for a quote-unquote ‘conventional’ horror tale. Bottom line, this isn’t an easily digestible bite of off-the-shelf horror, folks. This is a suffocatingly psychotic mouthful of twisted depravity that threatens to choke you as you try to swallow it down. Lingering in your mind long after you’ve put the comic down, And Then Emily Was Gone is like no other horror comic I’ve ever read, and I can already feel my body and mind bracing themselves for the final issue. Not to be missed, folks.
And Then Emily Was Gone #4 Trailer
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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