Thursday, October 18, 2012

Anathema Review

Writer/Letterer: Rachel Deering   Artist: Chris Mooneyham   Colorist: Fares Maes/Ian Herring
Publisher: Self published   Genre: Horror    Cover Price: $3.99 (print)/ $1.99 (digital)

Issue 1 cover by Chris Mooneyham
Anathema is many things. It's a tale of horror and a love story, an epic quest and a personal journey. It is a damn good comic book, one that you need to read for yourself.

Anathema is the story of Mercy, a young woman who becomes a beast to save the soul of her lover Sarah from the vampire Karnstein. It is a simple enough premise but author Rachel Deering piles on layer after layer of detail with sublime results. Mercy and Sarah are lesbians. Mercy abandoned Sarah to face the judgment of her own self righteous father alone. She cannot speak in her animal form but can still think (though perhaps not so clearly as she might like). It's heavy stuff to be sure. Big questions are asked about the plight of those society has set apart, the power of love and the nature of morality, but the story never becomes so bogged down in the answers that it forgets that even mature comics should be fun. There is plenty of action and more than a few good old fashioned monsters (my favorites are Karnstein's henchmen who resemble medieval plague doctors).  

Issue 2 cover by Joe Querio
Artist Chris Mooneyham and colorists Fares Maese (issue 1) and Ian Herring (issue 2) are able collaborators. Together they create a visual style that is equal parts Walt Simonson and Mike Mignola with the odd touch of Joe Kubert and Klaus Janson. It is a moody, atmospheric style that combines the best aspects of the black and white style popularized by Warren Magazines in the seventies, with the understated colors of the classic Hammer Horror films.

The only unfortunate thing about Anathema is that it's not a book you'll find in your local comic book store or on Comixology. Anathema must be purchased directly in print or digital editions through Rachel Deering's online store. Trust me, it's well worth the effort.


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