31 Days of Horror Comics Day 8 – ‘Obergeist’ Features the Chilling Horror of Man’s Inhumanity to Man

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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.

obergeistVoted Best Horror Comic of 2001 by the now defunct Wizard magazine, Dan Jolley and Tony “Effing” Harris’ Obergeist is by far a different type of horror than any I’ve yet written about. The collected edition is published by Top Cow, a company known for slightly horror tinged books such as The Darkness, with its very human horror Obergeist is unlike anything they’ve published, before or since.

Evil Nazi scientist Jurghen Steinholtz is tasked with creating psychic soldiers, but when he realizes what he is doing, and done in the past, is wrong, he asks for the work to be halted and is buried alongside his victims not quite dead. Going mad from hearing their voices in his head year after year, something changes and he is able to move again. Finding himself involved in plans much bigger than himself, can he find atonement for what he has done?

Obergeist is a whole different level of horror; the horror of man’s dominance over others, the horror of war, and the horror of government. Sure, there’s actually demons and whatnot, but that’s just part of the show. The story by Dan Jolley is one of the most unique I’ve read in American horror comics, and it is realized and executed amazingly. Jolley has a way of grounding his characters in reality, even if the story is far removed from it. You may not like Steinholtz, but you sure do empathize with him when all is said and done. His use of religious tropes is refreshing and unique, elevating the stakes, as well as the horror.

The art by Tony Harris is some of my favorite work; every design, page, and cover a work of perfection. His horror is grotesque yet gorgeous, and the man draws some mean monsters. This is over-the-top, wall-to-wall carnage in a literal and emotional manner, and nobody else could depict it as wonderfully as Harris. His Steinholtz is fittingly gaunt yet terrifyingly larger than life; a mix of equal parts mad scientist and avenging angel.

Obergeist really is a great underrated gem of a comic, with the horror of man’s inhumanity to man at its heart, and it’s a perfect Halloween read.

 

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