Long Lost #1
Scout Comics 2017
Written by Matthew Erman
Illustrated by Lisa Sterle
Stranger Things meets Ghost World in Long Lost, the haunting story of two estranged sisters who find themselves drawn back to their small southern hometown to unlock the disturbing mysteries that are hidden there, with all roads leading back to their enigmatic, secretive mother. Join Scout Comics as they proudly debut this compelling, harrowing journey through family relationships, childhood trauma, and southern Gothic horror.
There’s something about a black & white book that instantly evokes something in each reader. Sometimes it can make you think Noir and other times like this it evokes horror and it’s rather an effective way to instantly make the reader stop and think about what this is going to be like. There’s a real air about the opening that both makes you quizzical and pensive but also piques the curiosity in the most wonderful of ways.
Here we meet Piper and her dog Pockets. It’s a mysterious introduction as there are no words so we have to rely on Lisa’s visual storytelling which may or may not tell the right story. After all one moment I think she’s pregnant the next I’m not so sure as there is a dark shadowy figure on top of the house in the dead of night and it feel ominous. So does the dream she she has I mean it’s a convoluted mess of strange imagery with huge sexual connotations. I love it though and it’s creepy, crazy and makes you wonder what the hell kind of person Piper is.
I will wholeheartedly admit that the bright open pages full of white that we see are almost as unnerving as if it were overshadowed in darkness. I mean Pockets is this tiny little doggie who’s cute as cute can be and well he’s just this kind of perfect companion and both shows Piper is capable of love and yet how she also keeps to herself. There is some fine characterisation going on here in the most subtle of ways and I find that highly impressive. Matthew and Lisa work really well together as a team to convey what we need to see.
On a side note the bathroom scene is familiar to anyone who has a pet! I mean I have cats who parade around the bathroom while I'm on the toilet too. As it turns out these moments of normality however belie what she’s going through and that alone is something that impressed me. There really is more going on here than meets the eye and while we get to see it play out and have that nervous tension Piper just sees a course of unfortunate events, nothing dark, sinister or out of the ordinary.
I do like the way Lisa uses page layouts through their angles and perspectives. Somehow even with the more simple approach to her work she manages to convey a lot of emotion. Usually I want more detail in the work and I’d like to see backgrounds used to flesh out the story more fully and yet this approach here has the desired effect and so much more. The innocence that is projected here and the horror style of the story work at odds with one another and somehow make it work flawlessly.
Once again I’m reminded why companies like Scout should be recognised for the work they put out. Creators who may not have found a home somewhere else can find it with them or companies like them. This way we get to see these incredible stories come to life for us. The sheer and utter uniqueness that is this book isn’t going to be seen anywhere else that I am aware of. The whole thing leaves you intrigued, wondering and contemplating what’s going to come next. The last page classic cliffhanger style ending was a great choice and was nicely done.
Unique, full of life and surprisingly captivating this one won’t leave you.