Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Jody Houser
Penciller: Stefano Martino
Inker: Keith Champagne
Colorist: Lauren Affe
Lettering: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Release Date: 26th September 2018
Will Byers is heading home from an evening of Dungeons and Dragons with his friends, but something isn’t right. The shadows are longer and darker, a monster is stalking him and he’s not convinced he’s in Hawkins anymore.
When word got out in 2016 that Netflix were releasing a science fiction/horror show set in the ‘80s and it was going to pay homage to Stephen King, John Carpenter’s The Thing, Poltergeist, Alien, and a whole host of other 1980’s nostalgia-invoking themes, 9 million ‘80s kids (myself included) peed themselves with excitement like a box full of startled puppies. When Dark Horse announced that they were releasing a Stranger Things comic a significant portion of those people made those same high-pitched squeaking sounds and wept tears of pure joy.
Jody Houser (Cupcake POW!, Orphan Black), is penning this adaptation in what will, initially, be a four-issue run with the promise of more to come later. The first issue broadly follows the plot of the show but gives us a neat twist in that we are getting to see the story from Will’s perspective. If I’m honest I was expecting this to be a direct adaptation of the series and while that would have been cool, I was pleasantly surprised to find something new to explore in Hawkins. It’s too early to predict quite how this approach will pay out but it was certainly different enough to keep me interested and I will certainly be following the rest of this series to find out.
Stefano Martino, Keith Champagne & Lauren Affe provide the artwork for this series and are already doing a great job, with a style that captures the feel of the TV show whilst giving the new aspects of the story a life of their own. I particularly thought that the brief appearance of Eleven was beautifully drawn. The depiction of The Upside Down is pretty good, but for me just doesn’t appear to be anywhere near dark and dirty enough, a fact which took some of the tension away. That said, perhaps they’ll show this world becoming more decayed as the story progresses.
As first issues go this is off to a good start and Houser and the rest of the team seem to have the makings of a decent adaptation that will keep fans of the show happy as well as fans of horror comics in general. If they can just make the whole thing a little darker and scarier then I think they have the potential to turn a good adaptation into a great one.
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek