Indy Comic Suggestion: Leave on the Light #1
Written by Bradley Golden & George Aguilar
Penciled by Alex Sarabia
Inked by Lahkem Amyr
Colored by Shannon Smith
Lettered by Hector Negrete
Published by Antarctic Press
Set in 2013, Detective Gary Marshall and his partner McKinney investigate a murder that will take a supernatural turn. Gary recognizes the killer’s style. But it belongs to a dead man. We don’t see the only suspect that they are investigating. This may be a missed opportunity in the mystery of who the killer is. I can’t guess why we don’t see him and trust Bradley Golden to tell us more.
We see the killer on the cover with a teddy bear and an inmate uniform. When he enters the story it is so horrifying that we check ourselves as to whether we are in a dream or not. There is a good jump scare or two toward the end.
Golden’s writing works hard to give us lots of fast depth and world building around the character of Gary Marshall. And that might be the only minor script failing. He is story-wise the only person in a vacuum, from the reader’s point of view. After the murder it’s hard to care about the other characters. The world is slightly not lived-in.
At one point Gary Marshall belts a cameraman. Unrealistic, but a fun way to show this is a dangerously impulsive cop with a short fuse. A seed is dropped concerning whether someone can come back from the dead.
Alex Sarabia’s art uses a lot of lines to move use around the page and show us a good time. No complaints here. Black and white is a good move for this story and this artist.
Lahkem Amyr’s use of pantone is great, but some panels have inconsistent use of the grays in favor of hashing. That isn’t a problem but it is a distraction.
The dark blue gradient doesn’t work for caption boxes. It’s hard to read and takes me out of the story. My advice to Hector Negrete is that which I so heartily ignore: just let the letters be letters. Let them fade away in their simple caption boxes.
FYI, In the US, the women’s room is not a “WC.” The rest of the letters were great.
The editor didn’t catch grammar mistakes in the early pages. There were notably no legal, copyright, or print notices in my preview copy.
Even with my nits, I am calling this a buy and looking for the next one.
Now the big question: Why does the inmate look so much like Gary Marshall?
Not quite a compelling mystery, not quite(yet) a compelling horror/thriller story I’m giving this a 3½ of 5 stars.
More about the project: Leave on the Light [ kickstarter.com ]
Ask for it in your local comic shop or at Antarctic Press.
Updated to remove a reference to a missing page 17