The horror (comics)! The horror (comics)! #7: Coffin Bound
Like the Conversationalists (definitely not zombies) in Pontypool, we just keep on coming, wearing you down until you realise that there is no escape. Fortunately for you, we just want to talk about horror comics rather than tear your apart and chew you up.
The title we're masticating on today is one that raises the perennial topic of discussion:
"What constitutes horror?".
Sometimes it's pretty simple: Matt's response to reading Wytches was to be terrified incontinent (as a general rule of thumb, that seems a good way of gauging if something is horror or not), Killadelphia features dead presidents and vampires (again, generally speaking, vampires = horror- yes, I know Mona the Vampire, not a horror), but not all horror is so easily categorized. Last week we were talking about Gideon Falls, which is not a bladder-overwhelming read, but is atmospheric and unsettling instead.
And then there are other titles that fall in the horror category (Image classify it as a horror), but are so singular and refuse to play by genre rules that you have to stop the discussion and just enjoy the fact that it exists...and accept that a title with an unstoppable killing force called Eartheater and strippers who literally strip out of their skin is a horror. That's right, its:
Reality, in Coffin Bound is a pretty loose thing. The first story arc of this comic deals with Izzy, hunted by the unstoppable Eartheater, attempting a practical form of nihilism- she's going to remove all trace of her existence from the earth, accompanied by a vulture skeleton figure and referencing a variety of influences from Shakespeare to Hellraiser.
The world of Coffin Bound is a rich and bold one that you can lose yourself in. It's dark (I mean, it's openly nihilistic), brutal, intelligent, and funny- and if that's not enough it's there's a real human sadness to it all.
Izzy is a fascinating central character who is coming to terms with pain inflicted and received through her life- but before you start thinking this is a heartbreaking read, it's not. The preview text for the first four issues tell you all you really need to know:
"Cars! Guns! Entropy!"
"Sex! Chainsaws! Pancakes!"
"Champagne! Bloodshed! Uncomfortable silences!"
"Death! Ashes! The finale of our first story arc!"
Coffin Bound is a bizarre and wonderful horror comic. The artwork is incredible (Dani) and perfectly matches the intelligence, boldness and humour of the writing (Dan Watters).
Why are you still reading this? Go and get yourself immersed in the strange world of Coffin Bound.
So, that's that. Next week we'll be returning to a title we looked at in a homework on the podcast: