It’s the 13th month of the year (Editor’s Note: No, it’s actually the 10th), and the witching-y day approaches! In honor of All-Hallow’s day, as any snotty 10-year old will try to correct you to, Nerdcenaries is doing a special countdown of spooky comics. For the next 13 days until Halloween, I’ll be talking about one scaaaaaary issue or original Graphic Novel per day, to get you in the proper mood (Editor’s Note: the proper mood is murder.) Here’s the fifth!:
Saga of the Swamp Thing #37
Written by Alan Moore
Drawn by Rick Veitch and John Totleben
Alan Moore’s classic run on Swamp Thing is usually remembered for the “creation” (sort of, it’s a long story. Google it or ask your LCS employee about it) of Vertigo, but in many of the issues, it’s much more of a straight-horror comic than people tend to recall. And this issue in particular is terrifying. It’s the start of a story arc, and the art isn’t the strongest in the run; Stephen Bisette, Moore’s usual collaborator didn’t work on this one. But it’s notable for the appearance of the Invuche, AKA, the scariest thing Alan Moore’s ever come up with.
See, the thing about horror in comics is that it’s usually a bit harder to pull off than with a tv show and a movie. All they have to do is throw in some minor chords, buzzing, and suspenseful music, and you get scared no matter what pops out, even if it looks like a bargain-bin Darth Maul. (see the movie Insidious. Or, better yet, don’t.) Comics, as a static and quiet medium, can’t accomplish that, so they have to rely on either an incredible artist’s sheer talent in showing a terrible creature, or a creeping sense of wrongness.
The Invuche just plain look wrong. It doesn’t fit in our idea of what things should look like, and in this case, the static medium helps, rather than hurts. We don’t see the swaying movements it makes as it runs, but we imagine it, because we only get a few panels and have to connect them chronologically. It makes something scary, that, if we’re being fair, probably wouldn’t be scary in a movie. It would probably look pretty silly, in fact. Anyway, Moore’s great, the fill-in artists are pretty good, and the monster’s horrifying.