Monday, 5 September 2011

Effective Horror Webcomic

I have been a huge fan of Horror for a long time now, but very few things really scare me.

Many things make me jump, but I'm one of those people that don't consider a jump to be a real scare.
I love films and games that get you paranoid.
Where you have a real sense of dread as you continue to watch/play.

I really believe that the very best horror is achieved when you take full advantage of the medium you are using to create a sense of unease within the one experiencing it.

It is very common knowledge that H.P.Lovecraft wrote very few details, at least for the most part, on the creatures in his books.
We very rarely had a good understanding of what they looked like, and even less often did we understand them or there motives.
And though it seems to have been somewhat of a joke that you never know what Lovecraftian monsters really look like, it is that very element that makes his books so effective as horrors.
The fear gained from reading his books doesn't come from the knowledge that there is a monster there doing horrible things.
It is the lack of knowledge about what the monster is, and why it is doing said horrible things.
This is something that can not be achieved so effectively in any medium other than written books.
The lack of any visual aid means that your mind has to fill the gaps, and it does so with something much more personal and much more tailored to your own dislikes and fears.
For this reason, Lovecraftian games, comics or films will never truly capture the same feel as the original books.
At least, it would take an incredibly clever man to pull it off.

A lot of games make good use of the medium to create a sense of dread within the player.
The often mentioned Eternal Darkness is a brilliant example, using fake glitches and other similar things that could only occur within a video game to create a sense of unease.
Many horror games try and put a lot of detail in to getting you to forget you are playing a game.
Sometimes its best to do the complete opposite, to make it very obvious to the player that they are playing a game, and then to use that to your advantage.
A more recent example of this, and one that took me by surprise, was Batman Arkham Asylum which I played through recently.
There is a section part way through the game where Batman is being effected by Scarecrow's fear gas, and it seems as though the game has crashed and re-started.
This comes out of nowhere and is an incredibly good example of taking advantage of the medium to create an effective horror atmosphere.

For a long time I have been wanting to see a really effective horror comic, as comics and graphic novels are another passion of mine, but I have never read a horror comic that really gained my attention, or even registered as a horror to me.

Today my friend linked me to a webcomic, that is the first example of using the given medium to take advantage of the reader.

Please do follow the link and read the comic before continuing to read this post:

Webcomic's are really a very unique, and relatively un-tampered media.
There are a lot of possibilities that have yet to be attempted or even conceived yet, and that could lead to many very effective horror elements.

As a comic is traditionally still images, or "Sequential Art", adding completely unexpected animated elements, especially with audio, is an excellent way to create a sense of unease in the reader.
It breaks the rules of a comic, adding elements that aren't traditionally supposed to be there.

I really wish that I could understand this comic, as I would love to read it.
But for now I am just happy to know that somebody is really making good use of the medium.

I hope that I get to see many more unique and interesting ways of taking advantages of comics to create effective horror similar to this in the future.