By: Ben McCool (writer), Nikki Cook (illustrations), Tom B. Long (letters)

The Story: A reporter visits a creepy town where everyone has lost their memory.

What’s Good: Yeah!  Black and White comics kick ass!  One of the hopes I have for the success of The Walking Dead is that it’ll make B&W comics a little more viable as fewer fans turn their noses up instinctively.  B&W actually works better for certain types of stories (in my opinion).  Anyone who has done photography knows that you get a level of contrast and atmosphere when you shoot B&W and comics are no different.  Basically, without the colors to make things look pretty your brain can focus like a laser on what is actually happening in a panel.  Plus, there’s also the fact that B&W comics are cheaper to produce and that lesser expense makes the break-even point easier to achieve for a creator-owned project like Memoir.  I wish more comic creators would think of why their comic needs color, rather than just retaining a colorist.

And what a creepy story McCool is telling here.  The basic concept is that this little town had an incident where everyone in the town lost their memory.  Since the accident, the townsfolk have mostly stayed in their town and now, 10 years later, a news reporter is entering the town to do a little investigative journalism.  What he finds is a creepy town that clearly has some ghastly secrets.  McCool isn’t copying from countless stories of “creepy small towns”, but he does seem aware that the reader is familiar with those stories and that makes it easier for him to establish the creep-factor without dumbing down his own story.

I talked about it a little above, but this comic would be very different with different art.  Nikki Cook’s art builds the creepy atmosphere to a very high level.  As you get further and further into this issue, the art gives you a real sense of foreboding that I’m sure is intentional.  I always think it’s a huge achievement when and artist can trigger an emotion in today’s desensitized reader!  Her art almost has you hearing a creepy soundtrack in your head and that’s a pretty rare thing.

Bonus: A GOOD John Cassiday cover!  I was really worried that he had lost his fastball after seeing his covers for Shadowland recently, but THIS is the guy who drew Planetary and Astonishing X-Men.  I wish we could get some interior work of this caliber.

What’s Not So Good: Very minor quibbles.  A few characters who look funny from panel to panel (the protagonist), a couple places in the comic that maybe could have been a panel or two shorter (the scene with the butcher), but there is nothing majorly wrong with this comic.

Conclusion: If you like creepy, psychological horror, this is going to be right up your alley.  Go get it because, McCool and Cook have a really good first issue here!

Grade: A-

– Dean Stell

 

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