Recently voted by Horrortalk as 'the scariest comic they'd read all year' and with the cold nights drawing in, we figured that there's no better time to check out the intriguingly titled 'Malevolents - Click Click' - Here horror writer John Paul Fitch gives us his official review on a ghost story in comic book form.
Malevolents: Book 1 by Thom Burgess and Joe Becci is a thoroughly creepy modern ghost story that plucks the nerves of modern urban myth, teenage peer pressure and mental illness. It shows us the consequences when urban myth bleeds into reality.
Set in London, a city literally steeped in legend and myth, the book begins with a group of teenagers partaking in a sÃÂ©ance. As the group mull over the legitimacy of their ritual, one of them begins to tell the story of Billy Blore and the circumstances that led to his disappearance.
Billy was a rich kid who had been dared to spend the night inside a rumoured haunted house. The house was supposedly haunted by the ghost of Maggs, a mentally ill man who had been locked away in the attic. Maggs, after screaming until his throat ruptured and destroyed his vocal chords, would click his tongue whenever he was hungry, which was all the time. Driving his family to the verge of madness, they abandoned him and left him to die of neglect.
Billy holds his sÃÂ©ance and stays the night, witnessing no obvious paranormal activity. He goes about his life as he has done before, but soon starts to see shadows and hears a peculiar clicking sound. It becomes clear that Billy is being stalked by something evil, something hungryÃ¢ÂÂ¦
The writing from Thom Burgess is solid here. It cleverly avoids drifting into clichÃÂ© as is the wont of writers when venturing into this genre and delivers a solid story that weaves back on itself and finishes with a dynamic twist. The use of the framing device of the present day sÃÂ©ance is deftly done, allowing us a window into the nightmarish world of Billy.
The main characters, especially the vile Maggs, are fully realised and draw us into this creepy tale effectively, and boy is it creepy. The story builds slowly as Maggs begins to stalk Billy, first from the shadows, snatches of him appearing in the corner of the frame, in the darkness, before he begins to force his way into BillyÃ¢ÂÂs world, in his classroom, on the sports field, at the bottom of a swimming pool.
The motif of the tongue is strongly represented. The instrument from which we get speech, that which allows us to tell stories themselves, is the thing that signifies the presence of Maggs. It warns that language is a dangerous thing when abused, that the power of myth and legend, and mankindÃ¢ÂÂs ancient tradition of passing on stories orally can affect our view of the world. Indeed such is the power of language that human consciousness is birthed when we gain the ability to speak as children and we build our society upon mythological narratives, religious or otherwise. This reviewer was reminded of the great horror film Ã¢ÂÂCandymanÃ¢ÂÂ and the work of Wes Craven which also toy with the ideas of myths and the power of stories.
Joe BecciÃ¢ÂÂs art is extremely effective in evoking a sustained, creepy atmosphere. He utilises a stark black and white colour palette, but his effective use of shadow and shading lends the book an eerie atmosphere. Combine that with solid framing, shot selection, and evocative sequential panelling and you have a superb looking horror comic. The character designs are well executed and the design of Maggs in particular is a standout. Maggs may well be one of the best horror villains created in recent memory.
For anyone looking for something new, something scary, this is the book for you. With Halloween coming up, Malevolents is the perfect comic for a night of chills.
Follow John Paul Fitch online at - [email protected]
Malevolents - Click Click is available to buy now in digital and hardcopy at
Watch the official Malevolent book 1 trailer