Deathridge is the new offering from Ashley Hewerdine and Funkydoodycool Comics. Hewerdine has been creating content for a number of years and has even once had the pleasure of being creatively gazzumped by one Charlie Brooker .
This first chapter commences with our introduction to the happy couple, Doris and Boris. He excitedly announces to her, deed in hand, that they at last can move to Deathridge.
Whimsy! This is the word that rings in my mind as I leaf through this book. From the outset, names of characters and places are exploited with sheer brazenness. Whilst the black and white art delivers clean lines with a minimal and effective use of tint and tone, the cartoon styling gives nods of acknowledgement, if not outright appreciation to The Simpsons and Betty Boop, along with that British classic, Bod.
The plot is unashamedly straightforward; now that they have leave to make this monumental move, we see Doris and Boris go through the cycle of packing and moving to their new home. Hewerdine uses these pages to illustrate the bond that Doris and Boris share, along with an insight into their hopes and aspirations.
Hewerdine clearly enjoys playing with the detail. Particularly noteworthy is his creative use of sound to add additional layers to the plot. This is implemented with some glee and panache. At times, there are pages of sheer excellence in terms of layout; rather eye-opening depictions of the couples’ joyous first night in their new home being a fine example of the sense of humour being delivered here. It’s not for kids, folks.
We are then treated to Boris and Doris enjoying domestic bliss and going through the process of acclimatizing to their new environs. Throughout these pages, there is a liberal seeding of gags, both visual and lettered, along with observations that appeal and amuse. I have to admit however to becoming a little impatient for the scene setting to segue into the instigation of drama, conflict, mystery. Something. Essentially, stuff happening.
This ominously monikered destination is clearly not going to be the simple suburban idyll that Doris and Boris have been hoping for. It has an underbelly and it’s going to be dark. In the closing pages , the story certainly does ramp up a few gears , with tension and drama and that mystery I was yearning for. Dark deeds and darker designs are hinted at, as our protagonists ultimately find themselves in dilemma. The requisite cliffhanger is delivered with an assured confidence.
Deathridge Issue One certainly entertains. I admire the disciplined use of dialogue. I certainly appreciate the intricacy in the layouts and the comedic tone being set here. I’m also genuinely motivated to see what occurs in subsequent chapters. In and of itself though, the pacing of this single issue seemed a tad off-kilter, for me, but ultimately I found it extremely enjoyable.
You can get your hands on Issues 1-4 of Deathridge here.