Saturday, August 30, 2014


BRIELLE AND THE HORROR VOL. 1 (Loaded Barrel Studios, 2014; Softcover)
Collects Brielle And The Horror Nos. 1, 2, Brielle And The Horror: A Thousand Words, and four new chapters exclusive to this book. (cover dates February, 2007- April, 2008)
Writers: Jared Barel and Jordon Barel
Artist: Jared Barel

I don't find new comics, they find me. It sounds insane, but it is true. It is one of those books that I stumbled upon in my journeys. This book is the result of an independent filmmaker who decided to scrap an idea for a film and make it into a comic book. The final product comes off as a cross between a storyboard flipbook and highly treated, highly stylized comic book. It's different in tone and feel than most things out there today.

Brielle Kicks is a teenager who has problems. At first glance they seem to be psychological, the result of her being the only witness to her father's murder. As things unfold it becomes apparent that this is a more occult-tinged, supernatural sort of thing going on. It's not entirely original but it is a polished concept which seems to be squarely aimed at a young adult/teenager sort of reader. I kind of winced at that but then the reality check hit me- I am old in Horror terms. I enjoyed Friday the 13th, Halloween and Nightmare On Elm Street films as a teenager, and I am sure that the forty-nothings of that era scoffed at them, so there you have it. 
This comic has a unique feel on two levels. The first of course is the artwork. While using photo referencing is one of the oldest tricks in the book, this seems like treated photos were used as the artwork. Again, composing a comic out of photos is not a wholly original thing either, but this has a very different way that it is presented. Very cinematic, with each panel essentially being a camera angle change. I am not always a fan of this approach but it works here.

The second level is the word balloons in the first two issues. I have never seen word balloons look like that. It is distracting but original. I was thankful that a more conventional word balloon approach was adopted for the remainder of the book.
 Those looking for different takes on Horror will enjoy this. I liked it well enough for what it is. Add a point to the rating if you are under 20.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The OCD zone- While the first two issues have been slightly recut from their original single issue publication, the original introduction pages are included in the back as well as the original issue covers.
This book is both a trade paperback and a graphic novel, since it compiles three issues that were originally published in single issue magazine format while containing four chapters exclusive to this book. Is it a trade or is it a graphic novel it both?
DVD-style Extras included in this book: Foreword by Jared Barel. (1 page)
Paper rating: 5 out of 5. Excellent weight glossy coated stock paper.
Binding rating: 4 out of 5. Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover coating rating: 4.25 out of 5. this book has that dry feeling dull matte finish coating that all of the kids must love these days, since everyone is doing it. I am not much of a fan of it as it tends to get minor scuffing on it, even when handled gingerly by an uber-anal retentive OCD person like myself.

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