There’s a surprising amount of information already revealed on the central mystery playing out in Scott Snyderand Francesco Francavilla’s Night of the Ghoul. It’s quite refreshing actually, getting a steadier stream of key details on the events surrounding the search for a lost film that might hold the secret to destroying an ancient monster. Of course, this is all owed to a smartly paced script and an art style that makes each panel consistently ramp up the horror and the tension that follows the father and son team at the center of it all.
Night of the Ghoul #3 starts to pull the veil back on the Ghoul’s methods and how long it’s managed to be a hidden but powerful presence in the world. We learn more about the people running the facility where the lost movie’s director lies disfigured and forgotten and we get a better understanding of what the Ghoul might actually be, especially in terms of how it keeps surviving throughout history.
In my review of NotG issue #2, I compared the story to old Hollywood horror classics in both tone and how it develops its ambiance. This issue finds another connection with those movies in terms of pacing. The horror of old didn’t wrap its secrets and mysteries up in a puzzle box-like story structure with twist after twist leading up to a big reveal. They found they could be scarier by leaning into the source of the horror and not by keeping it all hidden. Night of the Ghoul takes to this approach and it pays off in issue #3.
This isn’t to say that everything’s laid out already and that the comic is just people dealing with how terrifying the monsters are. Snyder’s script has been careful not to show its hand entirely, but it’s also generous with the things it shows. It gives readers a lot to chew on with guarantee of more to come.
Francavilla takes every opportunity afforded by the script to create pages full of images that, individually, could serve as cover illustrations themselves not unlike those seen in classic EC Comics. Some of the full-page spreads in this issue stand among some of his finest work and showcase his complete mastery of the language of visual horror.
The black and white movie segments continue to serve as the story’s vault of secrets, but what’s interesting about it is that it’s coming across like a legitimate second story in its own right, with plot and characters to spare. They’re even becoming lengthier every issue, so they there’s room to push the Ghoul’s lore even further and to explore other dark corners that typically get stuck on the cutting room floor in this type of story.
Night of the Ghoul #3 isn’t afraid to dump scary things on readers laps and then leaving it up to them to process it. Its horrors are out in the open, so we’re left to contend with how terrifying things are and how terrifying they can get. In a time where puzzle box mysteries dominate the playing field, Snyder and Francavilla are setting up their own rules and making people engage with the story on their terms. Thankfully, those terms are yielding results, paving the way for more scary things to be gleefully afraid of as they make themselves known.
Story: Scott Snyder, Art: Francesco Francavilla Art: 9.0 Story: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy and then dust off your old school horror boxed sets for a binge.
It’s hard not to think about classic horror films when reading Scott Snyder and Francesco Francavilla’s Night of the Ghoul. I was reminded of the original 1951 The Thing, the 1964 film The Last Man on Earth (an adaptation of Richard Matheson’s classic novel I Am Legend), and even a bit of the black & white Universal monster movies. Not necessarily in terms of plot, but rather in terms of the dread that permeates through them. The comic just lives and breathes that kind of Fifties and Sixties horror that relished in making its characters slowly march towards their doom as they search for some impossible truth. It finds its life source in the creepy atmosphere those movies developed as well, the kind that builds up the mystery to heighten the horror at its core.
Night of the Ghoul is all of that and more, a vehicle for fear that establishes a kind of lineage of dark things that honors what came before it but also aspires to insert itself in the continuum. Snyder and Francavilla are tapping into some deeply unsettling things in their comixology series, ready for some serious mythmaking along the way.
Issue #2 digs just deep enough to expand on the legend of the Ghoul, a kind of proto-monster that transforms into the things other people are afraid of. The film researcher is making progress with the horribly disfigured director of the lost film he uncovered, the lost but now found “Night of the Ghoul,” but every new bit of information gathered points to a discovery of forbidden knowledge captured in celluloid, making the very act of watching it quite dangerous (an idea that reminded me of John Carpenter’s Cigarette Burns, about a rare movie that captures the torture of a majestic being).
The story’s dual narrative structure continues to build upon itself with key cuts in the narrative that show scenes from the “Night of the Ghoul” movie. These sequences offer more hints as to the actual content of the cursed film and the monster that lies within it. Francavilla is putting a lot of care into these segments, capturing a very genuine feel for the black & white horror he’s clearly inspired by, a quality that tends to make its presence known across his body of work.
Snyder’s script stands as one of his most focused and one of his most measured. There’s a real concern with style and structure that helps keep the story from going off the rails. Horror movies from the Golden Age (1910-1960) tended to focus primarily on the larger meanings behind their hauntings, on how they reflected upon society or a deeply seated fear on a collective level. Night of the Ghoul carries itself as such, at least two issues in. The mystery is carrying the story and its implications are what will keep readers hooked in as more gets uncovered.
Night of the Ghoul is a well-oiled machine made by two masters of the craft. Horror runs deep in its DNA and it understands the inner working of it in intimate detail. The comic is well on its way to becoming a horror comics classic. If it holds steady, it’ll become a story I’ll be recommending to readers interested in expanding into the comics medium for their horror fixes.
Story: Scott Snyder, Art: Francesco Francavilla Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy and subscribe to a streaming service that features old horror movies.
It’s new comic book day! What are you all excited for? What do you plan on getting? Sound off in the comments below! While you decide on that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web to start the day!
The comiXology Originals line of exclusive digital content kicks off October with the debut of the first three creator-owned titles penned by New York Times bestselling writer Scott Snyder and co-created by some of the top artists in the industry. First comes We Have Demons #1 written by Scott Snyder with art by co-creator Greg Capullo on October 5th, then on October 12th comes Clear #1 written by Scott Snyder with art by co-creator Francis Manapul. Next comes Night of the Ghoul #1 written by Scott Snyder with art by co-creator Francesco Francavilla on October 19th. Closing out the month on October 26th the wickedly curious can get a glimpse at the next five upcoming titles in a Halloween Sampler.
The “Scottober” celebration headlines comiXology’s presence at New York Comic-Con 2021. Fans at the convention can find comiXology located in Artist’s Alley at Booth #H1B5 which will be decked out for the occasion. Come take a Scottober themed selfie between 11:00am – 6:00pm daily and get an electronic image for sharing and a commemorative print out.
Exciting giveaways include limited-edition enamel pins and exclusive We Have Demons posters (available while supplies last) which you can get signed by the superstar duo during their two signings. And don’t miss their live panel conversation moderated by The Beat’s Heidi MacDonald.
Schedule of appearances below:
Friday, October 8th
4:30pm-6:00pm—Signing Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo at comiXology Booth #H1B5
Saturday, October 9th
3:00pm-4:30pm —Signing Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo at comiXology Booth #H1B5 5:00pm-6:00pm —ComiXology Originals Presents: CONversations with Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo in Room 1A21.
In addition to what’s happening inside the convention, look for billboards outside the Javits Center and the nearby 7 subway stop.
Here is the schedule of debuts for the month of October:
October 5, 2021
We Have Demons #1 (of 3) written by Scott Snyder with art by co-creator Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion with colors by Dave McCaig and letters by Tom Napolitano.
In practically every folklore throughout history, there’s a struggle between angels and demons–beings of goodness and light and monstrous beings of darkness. But what if this struggle, this war for the soul of humanity, wasn’t rooted in the mystical or supernatural, but in science?
Lam was named after the first female angel, “Lamassu.” Lam never really understood her father’s devotion to their small-town Unitarian church. And when he dies under mysterious circumstances, she starts to question everything she thought she knew.
We Have Demons is full throttle entertainment by two comic book megastars, featuring action, conspiracies, secret organizations, monsters, mayhem, and a climactic war of good and evil with no less than the fate of the world hanging in the balance.
October 12, 2021
Clear #1 (of 6)by Scott Snyder with art by co-creator Francis Manapul and letters by Andworld Design.
Welcome to the future, a world where people can connect to the internet neurologically and mediate the real world through the lenses of their eyes, transforming reality. Everything can be skinned to fit a preference from steampunk to old fashioned Hollywood glamour. If you can name it, you can live it. You choose how you see the world and no one else knows what you’re seeing.
San Francisco, private detective Sam Dunes is working a case when he’s approached by his former police partner, who informs him of his ex-wife’s alleged suicide. But nothing about this adds up. And when he receives a gift in the mail, Dunes finds himself pulled into a wild and twisting mystery that stretches from the city’s deadly underworld to the even deadlier heights of the city’s wealthy and powerful elite.
October 19, 2021
Night of the Ghoul #1 (of 6)written by Scott Snyder with art by co-creator Francesco Francavilla and letters by Andworld Design.
It was said to be the greatest horror movie in cinematic history. Shot in 1936, “Night of the Ghoul” by writer/director T.F. Merritt was meant to sit beside “Frankenstein” and “Dracula” as an instant classic… But the legendary film never made it to the silver screen. Just before editing was finished, a mysterious studio fire destroyed the footage and killed the cast and crew during their celebratory wrap-party. Rumors of the doomed film’s greatness persist to this day, but no footage from it was ever recovered…until now.
Forest Inman is a horror film obsessive who digitizes old films for the famed Aurora movie studio. When he stumbles across a seemingly forgotten canister of footage, his discovery sends him on a dark odyssey to the California desert, where he’s warned by a mysterious old man that the film’s ghoul is far more than a work of fiction.
Night of The Ghoul is a dazzling work of contemporary horror, intercutting between the present-day narrative and the story of the lost film (drawn by Francavilla in stunning black and white).
Scott Snyder has tested the waters of creator-owned comics, crowdfunding, and now has signed a deal with comiXology to co-create eight original titles for the digital platform. Through Snyder’s Best Jackett Press, the comics will first debut digitally on comiXology and Kindle and then later be printed through Dark Horse.
We Have Demons with Greg Capullo is one of the series announced. Others involved include Rafael Albuquerque, Francesco Francavilla, Jamal Igle, Jock, Tula Lotay, Francis Manapul, and Dan Panosian. The comics will begin to be released in October.
The decision by Snyder was expedited due to shifts in the industry due to COVID as well as publishers cutting rates.
While Amazon will get a brief first look, the company has no rights to the comics allowing Snyder and the artists to control the projects when it comes to film, television, and merchandise.
Check out the full releases below.
Barnstormers: written by Scott Snyder with art by Tula Lotay and colors by Tula Lotay and Dee Cunniffe — A high flying adventure romance set just after the First World War.
The Book of Evil: written by Scott Snyder with illustrations by Jock — A prose story about four young friends growing up in a strange, near future where over 90 percent of the population are born as psychopaths.
Canary: written by Scott Snyder with art and colors by Dan Panosian — It’s 1891 and a mine collapses into itself. Find out what the dark substance found 666 feet underground is in this horror Western!
Clear:written by Scott Snyder with art and colors by Francis Manapul — A sci-fi mystery thrill-ride into a strange dystopian future, where a neurological internet connection is transforming reality.
Duck and Cover: written by Scott Snyder with art by Rafael Albuquerque — A manga-influenced teen adventure set in the strange post-apocalyptic America… of 1955. In conjunction with Albuquerque’s Stout Club Entertainment.
Dudley Datson and the Forever Machine: written by Scott Snyder with art by Jamal Igle and Juan Castro and colors by Chris Sotomayor — A rollicking adventure story about a boy, his dog, and a machine that controls time and space! What could go wrong?
Night of the Ghoul: written by Scott Snyder with art and colors by Francesco Francavilla — A dazzling work of horror, intercutting between the present day narrative and the story of a lost horror film.
We Have Demonswritten by Scott Snyder with art by Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion and colors by Dave McCaig—The conflict between good and evil is about to come to a head when a teenage hero embarks on a journey that unveils a secret society, monsters, and mayhem.