Before he sets off on his summer holidays Olly MacNamee check into a spooky guest house in rural Sussex caleld The Eyrie, for a good old fashioned ghost story courtesy of Thom Burgess and Barney Bodoano!
Publisher: The Eyrie
Writer: Thom Burgess
Artist: Barney Bodoano
Price: £7.99 from theeyrie.bigcartel.com
We all love a good old fashioned, out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere horror story, right? Well, if so, then The Eyrie is for you. A creepy, countryside setting straight out of the best of the old Hammer House of Horrors, and a story of past crimes haunting the present day. A ghost story that us Brits seem to excel at; with each rural pub and costal bar having a hidden, nefarious history that often promises (or, threatens) to break free one day.
The pub, and guesthouse in this story is no exception to that convention and it’s where, Rebecca, an American photographer, stays as she decided to take up a last minute job from an old client that sees her travel to deepest, darkest Sussex. The pub, being on the coast was once used by once used by smugglers, we learn, as many would have been all along the south coast many moons ago. And, just as with the locals in The Slaughtered Lamb (American Werewolf in London), these natives are restless; suitably superstitious and healthily paranoid.
Thom Burgess has created a wonderful, atmospheric tale of suspense, and his script is greatly complimented by his partner in crime, artist Barney Bodando who brings a ridiculous level of cross-hatching and pointillism to each panel of each page. His controlled reliance on this style of art suits the story immensely, giving off vibes of Piranesi along the way. Each page feels as if it’s been etched and only adds to the sense of history at play in this part of England. And, it is this etched style that adds depth and shadowy menace when appropriate. The comic, while clearly modern, feels at times as if it has come from the past. It all creates an effective encroaching, claustrophobic read, which is only heightened by the use of ghost-like speech balloons that fade around the edges.
There is something very ephemeral about this comic and, as a writer, Burgess, has seemed to develop since last I read his work on the comic, Malevolent, a few years back now. Like Malevolent, this is a done-in-one story, offering the readers a satisfying read and a great horrific supernatural set of memorably designed ‘creatures’ too.
Just make sure you read it with the lights on. And, not when you’re staying at such a pub either. Just warning you.