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Early Haunts Main

"Early Haunts" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson


Adapted, written, and lettered by T.W. Burgess
Illustrated by Mike O'Brien, Bri Neumann, Brian Coldrick, and David Romero
2020, 110 Pages


Who doesn't love a good ghost story? Early Haunts collects four tales of terror, all with connections to classics from writers such as Charles Dickens and Washington Irving. T.W. Burgess has selected these stories to adapt into comic book form, as they were influences to these huge names in literature. Instead of adapting Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, he went with “The Death Bride” by Friedrich August Schulze, one of the stories Shelley heard on that fateful night with Lord Byron.

Each tale in Early Haunts is introduced with a brief explanation as to why it was selected and its importance. This provides context for the story before you dig in.

The artwork that accompanies these tales is fitting for their type. For example, “The Tale From Dish Mansion” is a Japanese folk tale by Baba Bunko. Artist Bri Neumann and colorist Bryan Valenza match up to the tone of the setting and time period while maintaining the spooky feeling of the ghost story. The same match-ups can be said for the other three tales included here.

Click images to enlarge

My one major complaint about Early Haunts is that it's more of an illustrated prose book than a comic. Burgess adapts the original texts, relying more on narration instead of dialogue. This leads to a text-heavy book where the artwork could be doing much more. There are also some redundancies. You don't need to say “She ran to the back of the house” when the panels show her running to the back of the house.

Some of the caption boxes are placed awkwardly as well, meaning that you might read them in the incorrect order. The flow is off.

Click images to enlarge

Early Haunts has a unique augmented reality feature. By using an app, you can make some of the panels animate. That's a rare sight in comics in general, but definitely in the indie scene.

Early Haunts is a ghost story collection for the literary crowd. If you're a fan of some of the classic authors mentioned above, you'll enjoy reading some stories that influenced their work. It could have had a better interaction with the artwork, but the stories themselves shine through.


Story: threestars Cover

Art: fourstars
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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