Conceived by two life-long writer friends, Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft, with eye-popping artwork by Attila Futaki, the book will not fail to impress even the most jaded horror comic reader.
Scott Snyder has been a comic writer to watch, with Batman: The Black Mirror and American Vampire being fine examples of his work. Scott Tuft is a film-maker and writer with a few award-winning shorts under his belt, and Severed was his first experience writing comics.
He talks a little bit about his first time writing comics in the Afterword of the trade paperback for Severed, explaining that the comic medium has opened his eyes to a whole new array of storytelling possibilities.
The two old friends go on to explain how the story evolved over years of traveling and trying to discover what they each found terrifying.
Tuft says, “Not just madmen jumping out of closets (we have that too) but deeper fears…desolation, deceit, and despair. Within the pages of this book lie some of our greatest fears.”
With incredibly detailed and classy artwork by the great Attila Fukashi, the story comes alive from the very first panel, where we are introduced to Grampa Jack Garron, an old one-armed man who freaks out when his grandson hands him a letter from a man who claims to be an old friend of his….
Which leads directly into the story of young adopted Jack, and we begin to know the boy who grew up in 1916, with high hopes and dreams of the open road. The painterly style of the artwork really brings this time period to life within the pages of the book, and we quickly learn that young Jack was a precocious talented musician with one goal, to find and reunite with his absent father, somewhere out there in the landscape of young America.
Of course this path is not an easy one, and Severed’s version of the old days shows us a world fraught with perils, and almost every page drips with some kind of foreboding menace.
In fact, this is one of the things about the book that works so well, in my opinion. The eerily conveyed sense of dread that fills the book is almost unbearable at times, especially as we get to know good-hearted Jack and his simple goal of meeting his musician father at last, and having a happy music-filled life together.
The dark forces lurking just out of sight in the story let us know that this will not likely end as planned, but it is hard not to get caught up in Jack’s wide-eyed innocence and essential purity. Jack befriends another orphan train-hopper, and she turns out to be a little more streetwise than Jack, and the two embark on their cross country journey together.
Unfortunately, those aforementioned dark forces are everywhere, especially for a couple of orphan kids on the run, and the pair have a few adventures before running into “The Salesman”, a lurking old man going by the guise of Alan Fisher, who peddles for Victor and represents and distributes musicians the way they did back then before your fancy 8-tracks and digital downloads.
Truly one of the most horrifying villians in recent genre fiction memory, “The Salesman” slowly reveals himself to not be what the pair expected, and the book just gets creepier and creepier, and the later scenes come alive with pure dread and true horror.
The writers, in combination with the spectacular artwork, bring the story amazingly to life in the climactic scenes, that actually had me cringing!
I can’t praise the writing and artwork within this book enough. The two Scott’s have concocted a slow-burning story that just layers the dread until you can hardly stand it anymore, then they hit you hard. Amazing work!
We have been having a great discussion about horror comics over on the Chalkboard, if you log in or connect with Facebook on this very site. And for those of you that have been looking for your next horror comic purchase, look no further.
Check out the Severed Facebook page for details on the upcoming release of the Severed Hardcover collection (!) or pick up the trade paperback at your local comic shop, like I did!
Or use the convenient links to Amazon below to find this book and more recommendations from your friends and faculty at Horror Homework.
Thank me later.