I am a big fan of horror comics, and it is not until recently I've started checking out books from Zenoscope because other writers I really enjoy have published an issue or two through them. Getting to preview H.H. Holmes by Jay Sandlin has me convinced to pull more books from this publisher!
H.H. Holmes takes the story of America's first serial killer and brings him into the 21st century. The story opens three months in the past with the death of a young woman (presumably via asphyxiation) in what we learn is the Gemini Hoel in Chicago (also the city where Holmes' murders took place). However, three months after the death, the head of security Susan Murphy (a former Chicago police detective), suspects foul play and wants to investigate the room where the young patron died.
As she begins to explain her potential theory to Walter Lewis (her boss and owner of the Gemini), a private investigator named Harold Myers arrives indicating he is there to investigate on the behalf of the victim's family. From that moment the insanity is dialed up to eleven. We learn that hotel room 66 is under surveillance where a presumed killer could keep an eye on his victims as they slowly die. As our party of Myers, Lewis, Murphy and the maintenance man Trevor begin to work their way through the innards of the hotel, we learn how the intricacies of the hotel match the famed murder palace of H.H. Holmes.
What transpires through the book's 74 pages is a harrowing tale of murder, horror, and a touch of the occult. I got the exact same chills from reading this book as I did reading the works of Agatha Christie as a child. Who is the killer? How is something so elaborate built with nobody noticing (in both Holmes' case, and the present)? Will anyone make it out of the Gemini alive?
In one of the darkest things I've read of Sandlin's, I am truly appreciating the breadth of his writing style, as he has an intense murder-mystery which is perfectly wrapped up in such a short span! Also the art of Xavier and Otero paired with the colors of Araujo and Andrade creates the modern murder palace of nightmares, and every single line or splash of color adds to the sheer terror of the murderous motel Sandlin constructs.
I can in full confidence recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of classic murder-mysteries, to comic serial killer classics like Nailbiter, to even fans of movies like Saw. I'm glad I got to preview this book, and I need now, more than ever to start adding more Zenoscope books to my pull list, because this is the style of horror story which goes deeper and darker than any other publisher I've read crime/horror/mystery from.
Note: H. H. Holmes was originally slated to be released on March 31st, but has been pushed back to April 7th, and while your shop may have missed FOC, you should see if they can still order one from Diamond NOW!!!!!
The journey of a 30-something father of three who's trying to break into the world of reviewing comics after a loooooong hiatus...