by Will Holden
Gideon Falls is a modern horror comic which, by the end of the first volume, felt like a classic. That’s not to say it feels familiar and safe, quite the opposite, but it has such an authority in its style and storytelling it feels like an ancient tale full of eldritch dread.
Co-created by the prolific Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino with colours by Dave Stewart, Gideon Falls was published by Image Comics in March 2018, won the Eisner Award for Best new Series and was nominated for Best Writer in 2019, going on to win the Eisner Award for Best Colouring in 2020.
The story revolves around a mysterious black barn which can appear anywhere as if from thin air and exudes a sensation of pure evil. We are introduced to two lead characters: Norton and Father Fred.
Norton is a reclusive and possibly schizophrenic young man who scours the area’s garbage looking for clues to his missing past. He is accompanied by his sceptical psychologist Dr Xu. Father Fred is a washed up and alcoholic priest, who has been sent to Gideon Falls to replace the recently deceased Father Tom, perhaps as penance for a string of failed stints at other parishes blighted by his drink. Father Fred is partnered with local Sheriff Clara Miller, your classic no nonsense type, who has had quite enough of the prevailing “folk tales” of the black barn in Gideon Falls. The plot moves with a creeping dread without ever feeling anything less than a page turner. The core mystery of the black barn and how these disparate characters will finally connect kept me interested from start to finish.
Andrea Sorrentino’s art is really dynamic and some of the most interesting page and panel layout I’ve seen in quite a while. Whether it’s panels slipping out of place in a moment of psychosis or reality warping collages it all adds to the book’s sense of unease and eeriness, always alluding to something disturbing just around the corner.
5 barn doors out of 5
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