Writer: Ryan O’Sullivan
Illustrator: Andrea Mutti
Colourist: Vladimir Popov
Letterer: Andworld Design
Fearscape is the delectable tale of a washed-up wannabe author struggling to pen his great novel, whilst living in the shadow of his esteemed and celebrated storyteller friend. After an unexpected visit, we are carried with our protagonist Henry into the Fearscape itself. A realm filled with our deepest, darkest, fears which he (supposedly) is destined to defeat…
Right from the very first page, Fearscape sets its tone and pace perfectly. Our unabashedly arrogant protagonist is immediately framed as someone we really shouldn’t like, however we can’t help wanting to follow him. There is no doubt on any page that our narrator is a writer full of self-importance and misplaced likeability. Upon his visit from a mystery guest (the arrival of whom, incidentally, is announced in one of the most beautiful and skilfully rendered pages of any comic book I have ever read). Henry is taken directly to the Fearscape in a potentially lethal case of mistaken identity. Hubris and curiosity being what they are, Henry is reluctant to admit that he really should not be there, and so he ventures further into the plane of complete fear, meeting some of its victims along the way.
Beautifully haunting illustration paired with an arrogant eloquence mean that every page of Fearscape is perfectly curated to help us step into the ambient gloom of the Fearscape itself. Suspense hovers in the back of the readers mind. As you creep toward the end of the first issue to a gloriously self-aware cliff-hanger to finish. Gothic goodness at its finest.
Don’t fear the reaper
Extolling the virtues of Fearscape is all too easy (I almost wish you could read the notes I took while reading). From the colouring to the panel placement, every inch of Fearscape is a masterclass in what it takes to create not just a comic book, but a piece of art. From a frustratingly compelling protagonist to delicately laid out letters; if you only read one comic book this year, please let it be this one.