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Comics/Graphic Novels

We Need More Gothic Comics (Hello, CRIMSON PEAK!)

Jessica Pryde

Contributing Editor

Jessica Pryde is a member of that (some might call) rare breed that grew up in Washington, DC, but is happily enjoying the warmer weather of the desert Southwest. While she is still working on what she wants to be when she grows up, she’s enjoying dabbling in librarianship and writing all the things. She can be found drowning in her ever-growing TBR and exclaiming about romance in the Book Riot podcast (When in Romance), as well as on social media. Find her exclamations about books and pho on twitter (JessIsReading) and instagram (jess_is_reading).

Have you seen Crimson Peak? Wasn’t it great? (If you haven’t, what are you doing? Now is the perfect time to see it!)

I came to a realization after seeing it: there are not nearly enough Gothic comics in the world. I’m not talking about comics that are dark and scary like Locke & Key, or comics that have the similar existence of ghosts-but-not-ghost-story, like Gotham Academy. I’m talking true, gothically sumptuous, period dramas with random supernatural elements and a deeper story to tell.

What makes a good Gothic story? And would it translate well into comics?

Well, let’s look at the elements of the traditional Gothic novel:

  • Daunting, massive home, usually with some element of menace.
  • Heroine (or hero, I’m not particular) of no particular description who has somehow found themselves in said daunting massive home. Actually, I’m totally starting to feel the gender-bent idea now….let’s percolate on that.
  • An atmosphere of gloom whether inside the house or anywhere else.
  • A mysterious backstory, with hints to that mystery all around the home.
  • Finally: A potentially supernatural being that tests the psychological stamina of our hero(ine).

These can totally translate to the page. Some are elements that depend on the artists, and others are developed by the writer and expanded upon by the other creators. The idea for the house is probably developed by a combination of all creators, while all that psychological terror starts in the story and is then realized in the art. Really, it’s got to be the perfect workflow from mind to script to page, but isn’t every comic? The final product of such a collaboration would be a work of Gothic terror that can totally translate onto the page. Some creators are particularly capable of bringing a character’s mental state to the forefront–particularly when they aren’t sure if they’re going insane. And could you imagine the walls of Allerdale Hall drawn and colored in perfect detail?

Little background things, sounds, sequential pages of imagery as gloom and doom follow the Hero(ine) and the mystery unfolds in the background? Yeah, that can happen.
So can we expect more Gothic comics in the future? I’ve got some stories for someone to write, if they need ideas.