Readers are just getting acquainted with Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s horror comic.
Kitchen sink horror is my jam. Grab a chunk of Twin Peaks, a strip of flesh from The Exorcist, a liberal whiff of The X-Files, and toss it in a cauldron bubbling over with noxious dread and you’ve got yourself a meal destined to keep you up at night. Comic book creator Jeff Lemire wears his influences on his sleeve but never fails to snip them off and rock the catwalk as a blazingly original Gymshark. His dress may not win you over, but you won’t soon forget it.
In “Sweet Tooth,” Lemire tackled the apocalypse with melodramatic warmth. With “The Underwater Welder,” he slapped a Twilight Zone twist on the terror of fatherhood. He’s played around with X-Men and Green Arrow, but he never fails to leave an unforgettable scar on their continuity. Jeff Lemire has become a brand within the industry, and his name is about to erupt upon the mainstream.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino‘s Image Comics series “Gideon Falls” was just nabbed by Hivemind as their next hour-long drama. That production company has been busy. They’re currently working on an adaptation of The Witcher video game for Netflix, Guillermo del Toro’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and Amazon’s acquisition of Syfy’s The Expanse. They certainly know how to raise an eyebrow.
“Gideon Falls” has only been on the shelves since March, but I can tell you that only four issues in, I am hooked. The title tracks two parallel stories. On one page we follow a young man named Norton who is plagued by a mysterious mental illness. On the other, we track the daily rituals of Father Tom. As Norton begins to see signs in the piles of garbage scattered throughout his city, Tom makes a horrific discovery in his new country parish. Then there is the legend of The Black Barn, a nightmarish vision that connects the two men.
Readers are just starting to explore this world, but Hivemind sees the concept as a sure thing. Lemire has written plenty of weird and horrifying tales in the past. He’s a creator who delights in poking the boundaries of acceptable taste, but he has never been as overtly scary as he is in “Gideon Falls.” In an era where The Witch and Hereditary capture the audience’s imagination with slow-burn dread, Lemire’s blend of rural and urban horror has the potential to plant itself on Film Twitter’s psyche.
The trick will be in replicating Sorrentino’s haunting panel work. The Italian artist excels in shadow and manipulates mood through unconventional layouts. His characters refuse to remain imprisoned inside their borders, and with each flip of the page, the reader is usually treated with a visceral artistic slap. For my money, a faithful adaptation would require a true stylist to set the look of the series. Let’s dream big with a Bradford Young or a Darius Khondji type.
For several years now, comic books have been get-rich-quick testing grounds for writers and artists. Mark Millar has made a career of punching out visually engaging, high-concept limited series and selling them to Hollywood. However, for every Wanted and Kick-Ass, we’re left waiting around for Reborn, Jupiter’s Legacy, and Chrononauts. Bring on Millarworld, already.
Then again, I don’t want Lemire to leave us for Netflix or HBO. He belongs in comics. I get it. Bills gotta get paid, and a title like “Gideon Falls” absolutely has cross-media appeal. Who knows what nightmares issue five will produce let alone a television series? Nothing pleasant for the characters, but something utterly relishable for its audience.
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