Small Thoughts: A Trick of Light by Hamilton Perez, Speculative City issue 7, Spring 2020

Speculative City is an awesome little ezine that explores fiction from all the different genres that are combined to make up speculative fiction. I’ve written about this publication before, but I recently subscribed to their Patreon and I really can’t stress how impressed I am with the quality of the work they publish. The editors, Meera Velu and Devon Montgomery should really get some love for their selections. If you have enough for a beer at a bar, you probably have enough to support Speculative City’s Patreon on some level.

Image result for speculative cityA Trick of Light is in the newest issue, issue 7–which explores the aspect of horror in speculative fiction. And it rocks. Hamilton Perez takes a world we all know–that of hell, and inverts a lot of the classic ideas we might have about the place.

First, the demon readers are introduced to is a clerk. He gages the quotes of screams and moans and things like that. That’s funny. So originality is there for sure.

Then the language is great. It draws from the lore and legend of the tiered levels of hell, it’s infiniteness. The place doesn’t feel particularly tangible, but it doesn’t need to. It just needs to feel otherworldly, and I think it does.

Then there’s the magic by which our clerical task demon, Eligor, can use to move from the Hells to our world. It just–works. There’s no cheesiness to it, instead, it’s nuanced and implied magical things happening through everyday actions.

With all this in mind, I’d say this is the type of story I’d love to see more of. If you would too, check out Speculative City’s website.

Comic Review: Night Moves # 1

Night Moves is a new noir horror comic from IDW, written by V.J and Justin Boyd, illustrated by Clay McCormack. The writers use a flashback structure to tell a story about the present day, thus creating both intrigues in the past events of the main character, as well as in his present (our future).

Story:

This comic begins 40 years after the story does. A young boy, tweenish, by his look, pulls to a stop on a hoverboard and enters a house. He’s just about to open a door marked with some arcane symbols and someone grabs his hand. An old man lives in the house. The boy asks for a story and the man begins to tell one. It’s the story of how he lost his one, true love.

Readers go back in time to our current day and age in the teller’s memory… On a night, when he hits on a pretty police detective, three violent priests come in with guns and start shooting. The shooting sparks a series of discoveries and events that propel the assembled cast of characters down a path rife with occult spookiness.

Read the full review on Sequential Planet.

Comic Review: Black Hollow, Issue 1

(WARNING: SPOILERS AND ADULT LANGUAGE AHEAD)

Black Hollow is a Canadian horror comic that harkens back to the late 80s or early 90s. It’s got a real, Tales of the Crypt feel to it, and the art reflects that as well, but I’ll get into that later.

Premise: Two young women are on their fuck the world road trip. Where they are going and where they are coming from, we can’t be sure. Not yet; but we do get the sense that one of the women of the women, Amelia, is much less dedicated to the fuck the world concept than Claire–because Amelia has called her mom. She says her mom worries. I’ll look for this to become more important in subsequent issues. When Amelia, the driver, stops to check on a car pulled over on the road in the middle of the night, she gets a strangely formal response. The woman behind the steering wheel–something is wrong with her, we can see, even if Amelia can’t. She and Claire continue until, without warning, their car brakes down and they are plunged into darkness. When Amelia gets out to check the engine Claire disappears. Amelia is left searching for her partner, and what she finds is more than what it seems.

Art: As I mentioned before, this comic takes me back to my childhood. The rather awkward and cartoonish illustrations, the distorted perspectives in size. The hard, solid colors used for everything. These form a world in which there is no room for gray or limbo. Everything is bright and there for you. There isn’t any impressionism.

A lot of this issue takes place in the car and has a perspective of a long, straight road, bordered by a hay field on the right and a forest on the left. In the distance is a city and slightly closer and to the right, a silo in the hay field. One of the clever aspects of the art in this issue is how the silo and the city never seem to get any closer. Even though the road is straight, I often felt as though Amelia and Claire weren’t able to get to their destination. At one point I even had to look back at previous pages to make sure I hadn’t lost my spot. It gives the whole issue a sense of lostness–if that’s a word.

Conclusion: A fun first issue that raises all the right questions and introduces just enough character and setting to make you want more. The most pressing question I have is “What’s going on,” as some supernatural weird stuff pops up. The other question I have is, “who are these two women?” Their relationship is clear, but why are they on that road of all roads and what are they running from? It’s certainly enough to keep readers going, and the second issue is only $1 on Comixology, a total steal.