31 Days of Horror Comics Day 5 – ‘The Coffin’ Exposes the Horror in Human Nature

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It’s my favorite time of the year. Halloween is just around the corner, the air is getting cooler, it’s the perfect time of year to snuggle up in bed with a good book. But which book? That’s where I come in. Every day this month I’ll be suggesting a great horror comic series; some will be straight out tales of sheer terror, while others will be more subtle. We’ll have everything from vampires, zombies, werewolves, and witches, to stories of less defined horror. So join me for 31 Days of Horror Comics.

the_coffinPhil Hester and Mike Huddleston’s brilliant The Coffin is a completely different type of horror. The original black and white series was published, and then collected, by Oni Press in 2001, with a 10th anniversary hardcover edition put out by IDW with a full color back-up story, and plenty of extras.

Dr. Ashar Ahmad has found a way to conquer death – a suit that traps the soul and allows it to go on living – but when mortally injured, Dr. Ahmad has to become his own lab rat, Can he stop a megalomaniacal tycoon from stealing his secrets, and rescue his kidnapped daughter? Does Dr. Ahmad have what it takes to become in death the man he couldn’t be in life?

coffin_hc_interiors66Phil Hester, most known for his art on Green Arrow and the Wretch takes up writing duties for this harrowing tale, that mixes science fiction and horror to create a truly unique experience. The story itself, while not horror in the strictest sense of the term, is quite scary in a very visceral, human way; a thrilling yet macabre masterpiece that makes you think. The pacing is quick and loose, with some really great action scenes, and quite an emotional punch.

The art by Mike Huddleston is what grabbed me, however. The Coffin, along with Ellis and Robertson’s Transmetropolitan, were what got me back into comics after a five year lapse. His style is brilliant and suited to the story at hand; elegant ink lines with backgrounds painted in grays, plenty of shadows, and great uses of negative space. And his designs for the various suits are a thing of beauty, each one having character and life to them. His covers alone would look great framed on the wall of a gallery somewhere.

If you like your horror steeped in technology gone wrong, with an antagonist who may be his own worst enemy, The Coffin is the book for you for your 31 days of horror comics.

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