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Dwellings 1 Main

"Dwellings #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Black Eye Books


Written and illustrated by Jay Stephens
2020, 40 Pages


If you ever read old Richie Rich or Casper comics and wanted more murder, then Dwellings is for you. This new series from cartoonist Jay Stephens tells stand-alone dark tales in a cartoony style akin to those classic comics. The first one focuses on a young man in the witness protection program who kills a mob enforcer threatening to expose his identity. The crows in the area enjoy the taste of blood and recognize a predator when they see one. They haunt him until he kills again...and again...and again, until he really goes off the deep end.

I get the idea of Dwellings, but I had a hard time linking up the horror side to Stephens' artwork. Dwellings is very much in the same style as those old-school kids’ comics. The pages are even a little yellowed and there are some fake ads interspersed within the book. The style doesn't line up with the horrific stuff in the story, so the imagery ends up being unintentionally comedic.

Click image to enlarge

Although we're dealing with adults, everyone looks like children. This also leans more into humor, like when you see this guy push a woman in front of a train. She lies there in an awkward and silly position with her pudgy legs sticking up in the air.

The sound effect work in Dwellings is top notch, particularly with the “Caws” from the crows. They become suffocating as they pester this young man to kill again. He has no choice but to give in after they hound him so much. The gruesome sounds of murder come up quite a few times, shown in a horrific font.

Click images to enlarge

While the story centers on this guy and his murder spree, there's a B story about a detective getting back on the force. It feels like something was cut out of this or there's more to it, like there was a prologue I missed based on how she pops up in this book. Although Dwellings will feature stand-alone stories, I wonder if she might appear again.

Horror and comedy are two genres that are very close together. Dwellings is an example of how you can weave between both of them. I'm not sure if that's intentional or not. There's certainly a place for a more cartoony style in horror comics, although this goes a bit further into that than most, so the scares don't pack a punch. It would be like Richie Rich bludgeoning someone to death. It just looks strange.


Story: threestars Cover

Art: threeandahalfstars
Overall: 3 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
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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