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"Cursed Land" Graphic Novel Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Caliber Comics

Cursed Land Large

Written by Hannu Kesola
Illustrated by Jaime Martinez and Marcelo Salaza
Colored by Edgar Tavitas
Lettered by Mike Sock and Jerome Gagnon
Backup story illustrated by Jussi Piironen, colored by Carlo Atzei and Hannu Kesola, and lettered by Paul Fry
2019, 119 Pages
Graphic novel released on February 13th, 2019

Review:

Tom and Anna are moving into their first house. It needs some work, but it's nothing they can't fix up. Plus, they got it for a steal because...well...a previous tenant brutally murdered some people there. Somehow that's not a big selling point in the real estate market. As Tom works on the house, he starts to see things and feels some violent urges growing within him. Maybe there's more to the story of this house.

Cursed Land pulls at more than just your typical haunted house story. Have you ever thought you saw something out of the corner of your eye, but when you turn to get a better look, there's nothing there? That's the feeling that comes through as Tom goes through the house. As the reader, we have the added benefit of seeing more than Tom can, so we know for a fact that there are ghosts stalking him.

Cursed Land 01Cursed Land 02Cursed Land 03
Click images to enlarge

Artists Jaime Martinez and Marcelo Salaza waste little time before showing us with these specters are capable of. After seeing an ominous figure in the shadows in one panel, we go full bore into the ghosts attacking with a haunting image of an angry and bloody form.

Edgar Tavitas' colors swirl around these beings, making them shimmer. This adds to the unnatural quality of their appearance, like the mind can't quite comprehend what it's seeing. They're not translucent, but they're not entirely there either. They're something in between. This also comes through in their speech. Letterers Mike Sock and Jerome Gagnon use black word balloons in odd shapes with a larger font, giving them an evil quality.

While this effect is great, the artwork in Cursed Land often looks stiff and awkward. Many of the panels look like they began as photographs of real people with some drawing over them. Ironically, this rarely translates to natural looking artwork, as they look staged.

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Click images to enlarge

Adding to the problem is the fact that the artists change halfway through the comic and the styles do not mesh at all. This makes for a jarring experience and is not ideal.

You have to wonder why Tom decides to stay in the house after seeing ghosts all the time. It doesn't help that his new wife isn't lending a hand and basically just yells at him for not doing more around the house. Granted, she's out at work every day, so she can only do so much, but the whole situation seems weird. There's little to invest us within these characters, so it's tough to care about what happens to them and whether they live or die.

Also included in this graphic novel is Night Screams for Mercy, another tale written by Hannu Kesola. This is a nice bonus, but doesn't really gel with Cursed Land. It's about a bumbling detective searching for a killer. The lettering is particularly rough in this tale with the caption boxes and word balloons appearing much larger than necessary. It's a bit distracting.

Grades:

Story: Twostars Cursed Land Small
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Art: Twoandahalfstars
Overall: Twostars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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