The 13 Frights of Halloween: Negative Space
Welcome to The 13 Frights of Halloween, the series where I share 13 comics that are spooky, creepy, unsettling, and much more. Today, we are going to look at the 2015 horror comic—Negative Space. I originally read the first issue of Negative Space back when it debuted, but I failed to follow up on it. I recently found a copy and it was bizarre, macabre, and dark. A fitting comic to read for Halloween. So, let’s get started.
Note: This comic deals with themes related to suicide and depression. It is a main element of the plot and frequent throughout the story. While the story doesn’t glorify either one, understandably this may be a bridge too far for some readers. I know I have my personal limits as well. Just wanted to make that clear up front.
Script by Ryan K Lindsay
Art by Owen Gieni
Letters by Ryan Ferrier
Get Into the Halloween Spirit With Emotional Terror
Meet Guy Harris. An accomplished author that is known to evoke strong emotions in his readers. Probably one of the most empathic people in the world and he has writer’s block…for his suicide note.
Guy posses empathy for those around him is crushing him and is being driven to take his life by forces behind the scenes. As Guy walks around trying to find his final words, he stumbles into the conspiracy behind the shadows.
The Kindred Corporation has been fostering and farming negative emotions for a race of ancient horrors known as the Evorah. Guy vows to take down Kindred and the Evorah and free the world from this despair, but can he overcome the burden of the world?
A Dark and Twisted Tale for Halloween
Lindsay’s script is ambitious in its scope. He seeks to tackle a rather dark topic as a writer suffering from writer’s block on their suicide note. The story doesn’t make light of the real despair of Guy. We know he is suffering, and his pain is real. Yet, Lindsay also tries to make it a dark comedy at times by the inclusion of Kindred’s cast of Rick and Briggs. The duo is basically playing games with Guy’s life and actively driving him (and the world at large) into the pit of despair to feed the Evorah. Their over-the-top antics give levity to a dark story.
The biggest swing Lindsay takes is with the dark ending. I can’t believe he went there. To avoid spoilers, I will just say once you think the story is going it takes a twist at the end that is equal parts depressing and dark comedy. It took me back when I read it. It is one of those kinds of twists that can make or break a book for most readers and I wouldn’t be shocked if someone didn’t like this comic for that reason.
That said, I loved it for that very reason. Negative Space went with the dark ending when it felt like it was building to a happy climax. It surprised me and I appreciate the big swings.
Visceral and Disturbing Horror
Gieni’s art is astounding. He illustrates with an animated style with his characters with exaggerated proportions and facial expressions which compliments the emotional rollercoaster the plot travels on. You can see the despair in Guy’s body language. He carries himself as someone with the weight of the world on his shoulders. At the same time the arrogance of Rick is on full display.
Negative Space is a beautiful and emotional journey. Throughout the four issues, Gieni employs a textured impressionist style to his colors that give this world a realistic grit. The colors are vibrant and lush on top of it. As with the writing, I can understand why someone would find this art unattractive. It does have an ugliness to it.
Yet, it is beautiful in its ugliness. It is so different from comics of ten years ago and today. It visually stands out. The only comparable artist I can think of is someone like Liam Sharp. The detail work and brush strokes in the rendering is damn pretty.
Negative Space is a beautiful and dark twisted comic. It plays around with a topic that is a lot for people to deal with, and understandably so. The story doesn’t let up. Ultimately, Negative Space takes big swings. The comic has a lot of stuff that can be off-putting to some readers, but if you know what you are dealing with when you go into it, you will find a comic that is befitting a read the Halloween season.
For more of The 13 Frights of Halloween, click here.
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