Miscellaneous Reviews:


(Published monthly by Vertigo/DC, words and art by various)

Like most anthologies, Vertigo's new horror monthly Flinch is a bit of mixed bag. Most stories in the first few issues have not been that terrifying so much as creepy. Whereas a film has several elements that can be utilised to freak the viewer out, and a novel relies only on the written word and the reader's imagination to build up an atmosphere, because of its two-dimensionality and the fact that it is reliant on images as well as words, a comic has its work cut out. As hard as it is to terrify in the pages of a comic, it's even harder to do so within the constraints of 5 pages, and Flinch is not always successful.

Highlights of the first three issues have included Maggie and her Microscope with Bill Seinkewicz' unmistakable pen-and-ink art; Night Terrors, which brings home a fear of the dark and A Walk In The Park, which is downright nasty. Surprisingly, the low point of the first few issues has been a story about the Titanic incident seemingly dashed off in a hurry by Garth (Preacher) Ennis. Other issues have featured a mix of other well-known names, such as Bob (Minimum Wage) Fingerman and Frank (Flex Mentallo) Quitely, and newer names like Pat McEown and Marcelo Frusin, serving as ideal showcase for checking out talents that you might otherwise miss. The covers - particularly #1 - have been successfully nasty to almost put me off buying the comics, which is high praise indeed for a horror comic.

If you've always been interested in reading comics but have somehow never got around to it, Flinch, with its variety of writers and general high quality of art is a good place to start. It might not give you nightmares, but it will make you flinch.

http://vertigo.vurt.net/flinch.html the House of Vertigo website -- info on all Vertigo releases

[Load time rating: fast ****]

Anna Jellinek

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