Monday, December 7, 2020

31 Days Of CCS, #7: Lillie J. Harris

Wilderness: Prologue is the first entry in what promises to be a longer horror story by Lillie J. Harris. The story follows Jemiah, a teen whose father is a preacher, and his increasing crossover into another realm of awareness. That other realm includes two women who have just adopted a pair of feral boys they dubbed Enoch and Beau. It's the rituals of that latter world and how it interacts with Jemiah's world that form the crux of the mystery. What's clear is that the rift between worlds is a sinister one, and the mysterious world is not a friendly one. 

Harris uses a huge visual bag of tricks to create tension and suspense. Jemiah's character design is so effective because he's so harmless-looking, his face taken up by a huge pair of glasses. Enoch and Beau are all wavy lines, with their hair looking not unlike matted fur, reinforcing their feral nature. The comic is in black and white, but the creepy green spot colors indicate that rift between worlds in a direct manner. The creepiest part of the comic is when the women take the boys out to the forest for a ritual of some kind, one with three rules: walk till you don't see the wall; if you see anyone, then hide; and meet back in the forest, but only in the morning." 

There are no indications as to why they are out there or what purpose it serves, which only makes it more disturbing. When Jemiah later sees something monstrous behind a dead deer on the road, he starts to understand that something deeply unsettling is happening. Harris' use of greyscale shading contributes to the mood of the comic, and they did a lot of narrative heavy lifting to draw in the reader. In particular, I'm interested in seeing how Harris' narrative thus far involves a lot of character types not usually seen in this kind of story, and I'm curious to see how the implications of that plays out. 

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