House of Slaughter #1 has arrived just in time for Halloween! This first issue had almost half a million copies pre-ordered, which are monster numbers for an indie publisher. Why? This new series is a spinoff of the popular Eisner-award-winning horror series, Something is Killing the Children (SiKtC).
Not standing on its source material alone, it boasts a killer team: The world comes from James Tynion IV, who has had an excellent year with Department of Truth, Wynd, Nice House on the Lake, a strong Batman run, and the launch of his successful substack The Empire of the Tiny Onion. Co-creator and writer Tate Brombal gained a lot of attention last year for his work on Barbalien: Red Planet. He put a lot of care into his portrayal of LGBTQ+ POC, which will be very important for this story. He’s joined by artist Chris Shehan, a rising star who just did The Autumnal. (You can read our interview with Chris here!) Rounding out the visual team are Miquel Muerto and Andworld Designs, who also worked on Something is Killing the Children, bringing the colors and lettering style over so that the universe feels consistent.
With such a stellar team, I had high hopes going into House of Slaughter #1, and I wasn’t disappointed. The terrifying world of SiKtC is still in the background of this story, but it strikes a super different tone that’s more the Magicians than the original series. This feels very character-focused, comparatively, and seems like it’s setting up a tragic romance more than the straight horror of the SiKtC. The protagonist of House of Slaughter is a character we saw in the first arc of SiKtC, but here he’s much younger and still trying to figure out who he is. We get nods to the previous series, with characters showing up, but I think you could still read this as an entry point into the universe or read it concurrently if you aren’t caught up on the other series.
Although there’s less gore in this compared with the original (so far), the art and storytelling will make you care deeply about the characters, which can be an effective setup to tearing your heart out later. Overall, with its stellar team and strong character focus, House of Slaughter #1 is a perfect start to what will probably be one of the best comics of the year.