Advance Review – Bog Bodies OGN (Image Comics)

Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Declan Shalvey
Artwork: Gavin Fullerton
Colours: Rebecca Nalty
Lettering: Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 22nd April 2020

When a young Irish gangster ends up on the wrong side of his crew, it’s not going to be an easy night out on the bogs in the Dublin mountains. This striking new original graphic novel from Shalvey and Fullerton, on sale this April, is a taut tale of guilt and desperation which reminds me how close, yet so alien, Eire is from me here in Scotland.

Set over the course of one evening, Bog Bodies fits the “original graphic novel” format perfectly. With an almost indie movie vibe, it sets the scene quickly and flows through to a gut wrenching ending without losing any steam along the way. Although set against the backdrop of some beautiful scenery, in the dark, these wide-open spaces take on a claustrophobic inducing quality. With a small cast of characters, each distinctive and engaging in their own horrible ways, there’s no distraction or wasted effort. Every panel on every page is there to leverage tension and continue to pull you further into this dark and twisted story.

Killian is a young man who appears like any other ten-a-penny gamer – slovenly and foul-mouthed, with surroundings to boot; right down to the passé Scarface poster on the wall. It’s not long though before we learn, through old Keano, that this lad is up to his neck in some serious stuff. Like driving a car with a body in the boot out into the sticks to dump it kind of stuff. Yeah, this is just a story, but it deals with some real heavy shit that still bubbles under the surface for many in these islands. Don’t expect any redemption arc here, though. Whilst there’s the aforementioned guilt and sorrow, this is fittingly dark, only scraping at the long history of bloodshed and violence on the Emerald Isle.

Whilst we’re all aware of the artistic talents of Shalvey, with him taking the reins in penning this story we have the opportunity to experience the distinctive visual stylings of Fullerton and Nalty. With an almost grotesque caricature quality which serves to in way dehumanise the villains, the overall effect manages to be both disarming and disquieting when it needs to be. I love the black skies and the switch to the lonely but warm cottage; this is one of those books where the visuals really linger.

Bog Bodies is a cracking horror story that doesn’t resort to jump scares. Instead, the ghosts and boogeymen are memories and violence. This came out of nowhere for me like one of those Netflix or Amazon recommendations where you have no idea what you’re in for but end up desperate to share with all your odd mates. Prepare yourself for this, and remember, it’s just a comic…

Rating: 4.5/5.


The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster

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