(Alterna Comics, 2013-2014)
By Wilson Taylor and Maia Gross
It seems the tagline to many a movie. “There were strange happenings deep in the Maine north woods…” and then a Stephen King credit, and the clowns and walkin’ dudes come out and then next thing you know you’ve spent two hours watching something that was totally better as a book and wishing that The Gunslinger could be a successful film, and you spend the rest of the evening casting it with your friends and writing the opening scene of the script and then discard the whole lot because you know that it will never be as good as the book…whoops. Seems like I fell down a bit of a rabbit hole, back on topic, the Maine woods.
Mr. King aside, it is a great place to site a story, and The Dolridge Sacrament, by Wilson Taylor and Maia Gross, is set in one of the deeper, darker parts.
Dolridge House is a bed and breakfast, failing, owned by Father Daniel Dolridge, converted from an old mansion. When Father Dan’s sister commits suicide on the property he is confronted by the demon that was living within her. The destruction of his faith is best summed up in this phrase from the third issue. “Nothing has destroyed me quite like the certainty of Hell.” The demon offers Daniel the chance for the family he never had, the respite from loneliness that he craves. The family will be gained by a human sacrifice and in the process he gathers wounded people around him, who are then trapped in the house with him.
Wilson Taylor and Maia Gross have created the family of your nightmares in Dolridge House. They have instilled in the characters the sense that you can’t trust any of them very far. Other than Father Daniel, the family members’ motives are murky at best. As I read through these issues the picture of Daniel as trapped becomes clearer, but at the same time he is also the jailer of the rest.
The book is all done in grey scale, so it has a stark feeling that works well with a suspense/horror comic. I really love the way Maia Gross designs the characters, with a little bit of that cartoon feel. It sets you right at ease until the moment a demon appears and punches his hand through your stomach. While the script doesn’t call for a lot of beat-em-up/blow-em-up action, it makes Gross really use her fantastic artistic ability to make panels that may otherwise feel flat come to life, and then when the action actually does happen, she really makes it pop.
Alterna Comics just released issue 4 of The Dolridge Sacrament. If you’re up to date, good for you, if not you can get out there and pick up the first three as well as number 4. Maia Gross and Wilson Taylor have really produced a nice-looking book, and the story inside is creepy in the best way. You can’t trust anyone because everyone has an angle they’re trying to play.
Trust me. The Dolridge Sacrament is a fine…and scary…comic.
Brad Gischia is a writer and artist living in the frozen Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He is married and has three kids and a dog, who all put up with his incessant prattling about comic books.