Comic of the Week: Ghost Tree #1 is a well-done opening chapter for a horror story

Ghost Tree #1 was released on 4/24/2019.

By d. emerson eddy — I'm a sucker for fairy tales, folklore, and mythology. It doesn't really matter to me where it's from, I'm always interested in what different cultures and peoples came up with for their morality tales, for their explanations of natural events, and everything that formed their core beliefs. There's often a lot of overlap and similarities between the stories, but also some very unique differences that give a perspective to how a culture, or parts of a culture, thinks about certain concepts. Like household gods or ancestors being tied to a family's home serving them as a kind of supernatural protector. And I enjoy seeing differing cultures interpret those folktales from other lands, though I can certainly understand people being put off by a foreigner’s telling of their story, which brings me to Ghost Tree #1.

On its own merits, simply as a story, this is a very well done opening chapter to a horror story rooted in family drama and honoring your family's wishes. Bobby Curnow gets right to the heart of our main character, Brandt's, conflict with honoring tradition, family values, over a division with his wife, traveling back to his grandparents' home in Japan for both respite and to fulfill a promise made to his grandfather long before. And weaves an interesting tale regarding being bound and drawn to a ghost tree.

What really grabs you through the story, in addition to the characterization, is the artwork. Simon Gane has a wonderful style, angular and detailed, reminding me a bit of Gabriel B and Fbio Moon. Gane creates some intriguing character designs and gives a lush depth to the forests around Brandt's grandfather's home. That lushness brought forth deeper by the colors from Ian Herring and Becka Kinzie. There's a kind of faded, almost ephemeral haze to the overall appearance of the colors in the book, that it creates a dreamlike quality to the story. Something very fitting for the subject matter. That's also mirrored by Chris Mowry's approach to the word balloons for the dead. Blue, shaky balloons that make it feel like the words are cold and filtered through some sort of plane that makes it a bit difficult to perceive as normal speech.

Overall, this is a good start from Curnow, Gane, Herring, Kinzie, Mowry, and Okada. It gives me some of the same as what I felt when I first read Locke & Key, which should come as high praise.

Ghost Tree #1
Bobby Curnow
Artist: Simon Gane
Colorist: Ian Herring with Becka Kinzie
Letterer: Chris Mowry
Consultant: Takuma Okada
Publisher: IDW
Price: $3.99

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d. emerson eddy is a student and writer of things. He fell in love with comics during Moore, Bissette, & Totleben's run on Swamp Thing and it has been a torrid affair ever since. His madness typically manifests itself on Twitter @93418.