When I got my hands on A Town Called Terror, I did what I always do: stalk its creators to learn more about them and their work. And something caught my attention. I went to Steve Niles’ Twitter, and his bio was: Writer of horror. Creator-Owned. DIY. I was about to read his newest indie horror book, so I knew I was in good hands. Then I went to Szymon Kudranski’s bio and, to my surprise, it said: Horror Artist […] Nah, just kidding, but he is a magnificent creator too.
Together they created A Town Called Terror, a book about family. The writer himself mentions that everything about family has already been told. But he does not want to talk about the happy, beautiful house in the suburbs family. He wants to go to the other side, a rotten family. The type of family that better represents the harsh reality of the world. Let’s dive into it.
This book has an opening sequence, and I don’t remember the last time I saw one of these. It was so cool seeing the name of the creators at the start; while a forensic was rebuilding an old man piece by piece, bringing him back to life. Yes, that is how this book starts. If the first six pages don’t hook you, I don’t know what will.
The rest of the book focuses on setting up the story, which is understandable because it is the first issue and perfectly balances it between horror and mystery. It focuses on Henry, a happy man with a happy wife. One night, after they have passionate sex, he is kidnapped by strange intruders and taken to his father, the elder that returned from the dead at the start of the book. It was a hard night.
Henry enters a town he swore never to return to, to meet a man he hates. Welcome to the horror of daddy issues. There is another mystery, besides how the F%#$ Henry’s father possesses the power of Jesus, and it is about this town. We see the car drive through a barrier in reality and emerge elsewhere. Where are they? Are they in Hell? Is Henry the son of the Devil? Oh, and where is the rest of his family? Meanwhile, his wife Julie starts looking for him, to no avail. The police don’t believe her, the security footage is missing, and she’s getting desperate. From what we know, it will be difficult to track him, so what’s next?
In every horror comic book, the artist’s job is to immerse the reader into the story. And here, the art excels. It plays a crucial role in creating a grim atmosphere, using only a red, white, and black combination, complex expressions, and timely closeups. It shows you the horror of someone manipulating body parts and a desolated and mysterious town. But, most importantly, the impotence felt by a wife seeing her husband taken by trespassers and her anger and sadness when nobody helps her. This is the real horror.
Overall, A Town Called Terror is a fantastic book, great for new readers that want to dive into the terrific genre of horror. It sets up multiple plot points full of mystery. A refreshing addition to a market with many monsters and creature horror tales that could use more of the psychological elements shown here. You don’t need to be facing a ghost, a vampire, or a zombie to feel true fear. All it takes is visiting your hometown and parents.