You probably didn’t think that one of the best books you’d read this year would be about a mysterious small-town, supernatural impossibilities and obscurity surrounding organised religion. Yeah, I’ll tell you right now that we’re not talking about something conjured up by the almighty Stephen King, but rather a book that’s put together by two comic book luminaries at Image Comics.
Gideon Falls has several of King’s tried and tested tropes like the ones I’ve just mentioned, but the list of reasons you should read this book doesn’t end there. Even the chapter title ‘The Speed of Pain,’ mirrors that of a Marilyn Manson song from 1998, which makes you wonder what other creepy parallels await readers in the coming issues. What else can you say about a comic that’s first panel shows the protagonist upside down? Metaphors much? This is the mark of elevated comic book writing, which is no surprise when you consider mighty Jeff Lemire buddied up with the phenomenal Andrea Sorrentino to put this book together.
Having done this comic blog for a while now, I’ve got enough experience to say that one of the best ways to gauge an artist’s prowess is to choose a featured image to go alongside text, and with this issue I was pretty spoiled for choice. Andrea Sorrentino is just a tour de force of talent and makes you really want to slow down and look at each panel, admire their arrangements and think about the placement of lines and curves that he opted for. Dave Stewart’s colours are used to optimal effect, adding sombre and engaging tone to an already eerie and unsettling story.
Lemire and Sorrentino’s time together producing the Old Man Logan series has given these guys a sense of familiarity with each other’s work style, to the benefit of themselves and readers alike. Like any great musician, Lemiere gives his colleague lots of room to showcase his talents, in a way that allows the unit to produce something truly beautiful. All those uncaptioned panels and lack of dialogue seem the ideal choice when you stop and look at that artwork, and maybe other comic producers would better themselves by emulating these kinds of choices if their stories permit them to do so.
Meanwhile, Lemire’s love letter at the end of the issue throws a lot of light onto the genesis of the series, which could also bring a sense of appeal to readers. I think it’d be a safe bet to say that I wasn’t the only one who dived right into that post-comic section to hunt down more clues about the murky, cryptic story that is Gideon Falls.