Penny Dreadful #1
Story by Krysty Wilson-Cairns, Andrew Hinderaker, and Chris King
Written by Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Art by Louie De Martinis
Letters by Simon Bowland
Cover A: Guillem March
Cover B: Ben Templesmith
Cover C: Louie De Martinis
Cover D: Photo cover by Martin Stiff
Cover E: Photo cover by Cat Connery
Release Date: May 11, 2016
Cover Price: $3.99
I’ve never seen the Showtime series of the same name, but if it’s anything like Penny Dreadful #1 then I’m going to have to track the first episodes down and subscribe to it immediately. Truth be told, I never knew it had anything to do with the gothic novels of yesteryear; that alone is enough to get me interested. Additionally, after having read this wicked little piece of sequential art, I am fully prepared to indulge myself with this franchise. Why, you ask? Keep reading and I’ll tell you.
Written by Penny Dreadful TV show writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns, our story centers around the reasons that led Vanessa to seek out her old friend Mina, who is in far more trouble than anyone realizes at the time. This comic book is technically a prequel to the TV series and focuses in on the undercurrent that runs through the show. It also touches on what type of monsters that we see plaguing the city of London during the Victorian era. The plot is barely hatched, but immediately draws you into this dark and dreary world.
I normally wouldn’t notate an entire paragraph to the art but in this case, it’s warranted here. Louie De Martinis does a splendid job of embracing and rendering the macabre in a way that allows the reader to imagine even more horrors than those simply presented. The art is almost Hitchcockian in the way it forces our perception to draw more conclusions than the picture warrants. Splashes of color coupled with deep, dark shadows seem to drain the light from the panel and set the mood spectacularly. There’s an almost watercolor look to the sequential art and that lack of detail serves the story better than any grotesque art ever could.
If you are a fan of the show, this was created specifically for you. If you love suspense and/or horror, then this is definitely something you’ll want to seek out. This comic isn’t for everyone, certainly no youngsters, but there is enough build up in this premiere issue to set the stage for a multitude of other storylines, regardless of what directions the television program takes. I’ll be grabbing a few copies from my local comic supplier for a few friends that I know will appreciate it; if that’s not enough of a reason to check it out, then I don’t know what to tell you. It’s absolutely worth a few hard-earned bucks.