TITLE: Mandy: The Monster Hunter – The Face in the Curtain
CREDITS: Written by Matt Warner, Art by Atlantisvampir, Colouring by Capucine Drapala
PUBLISHER: Hellbound Media
FORMAT: American comic sized, square-bound, card cover, full-colour, 59 story pages
AVAILABLE FROM: https://www.hellboundmedia.co.uk/comic-book/mandy-the-monster-hunter-the-face-in-the-curtain
If you've never encountered Mandy before try to imagine the clash of three different horror sub-genres… There's a sprinkling of urban legend, a taste of dark faerie tale and a big helping of kick-ass young female hero (eg. Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) But that's not quite it… There's more to it than that. It taps into the unsettling fantasies of childhood in a way that almost nothing else does. This is the world of monsters in the cracks in the pavement… The creature under the bed… And yes, the face in the curtain.
It isn't completely unique. I have seen this sort of thing done a couple of times before, but it is a road less travelled in horror fiction. As such, Mandy is a series worth treasuring.
Mandy herself is a figure with one foot in reality and is clearly a young woman with a background and real-life (that is revealed here more clearly that has been done before), but is also partly a mythological figure like the tooth fairy or Santa Claus. Children summon her to fight the monsters that their parents can't see and don't believe in by sending her Santa-style letters.
Each of Mandy's adventures is a self-contained mission against a new threat and this makes it very easy to pick up her stories from any point and jump aboard. This is the first time that one of her strips has stretched to this sort of length and is an epic in these terms. She finds herself up against an army of the dark creatures of childhood nightmares banding together in ways that they never have before. And as an extra bonus we even get a flashback to her origin and the mini-adventure that surrounds it.
Matt Warner is an imaginative writer who knows when to shut-up and let the artist tell the story. He taps into the creepy recesses of distant memory for the half-forgotten horror's of the nursery. The Italian artist, Atlantisvampir, is a favourite of mine (having worked with her myself on Reverend Cross 003.) She uses a scratchy, sinister, but charming style on this story. Everything is brought to vivid life by Drapala's vibrant colours.
Read it late at night with the lights turned down. This is similar territory to 'The Babadook', only with a heroine as magical as it's villains.
John A. Short 2017