“When the bards sing songs of my life, they probably won’t mention this part. The part where I fell into the Umbral and couldn’t get out.”
This is the beginning of a new horror fantasy comic titled “Umbral.”
In this tale, we meet a peasant girl named Rascal, who happens to be friends with Prince Arthir in the kingdom of Fendin. Today is a special day: It is the day of two dawns, or when there is an eclipse in the sky. It has been five centuries since this event occurred, and the crowds will want to see the royal family and the Mordent.
But Prince Artir would rather be exploring and playing with magic. Rascal and Artir are using the Mist with the Oculus, though it is unclear what the two plan to do.
All the plans are disrupted when evil spirits rain down horror in the palace. It is then that Rascal must fight for her life among the confusing horrors and hallucinations.
The title of the comic is appropriate: Umbral “is derived from the Latin umbra, meaning ‘shadow.’ It is also the Spanish word for ‘threshold.’” (Wikipedia.com) Both of these words hold importance in this comic, as the story is about what lurks in the shadows and behind closed doors, and these shadows seem to be creating a new doorway, or threshold, to bring horror to this realm.
Clever word-play isn’t the only thing that carries this comic. Writer Antony Johnston explains in the back of the comic that this story is heavily led by the art, created by Christopher Mitten. Johnston and Mitten have worked together before, and Johnston wanted Mitten to take over with his tale, while Johnston fine-tuned the story. Mitten used creative angles for character placement and a variety of story boxes to add to the suspense and disorienting nature. He even placed a map within the first few pages of the comic, which can be considered a bold move.
Issue No. 5 is now out in comic stores, so catch up on Rascal’s tale and see what is lurking in the umbral.
Comic Book Wednesday is a new feature that will showcase a variety of visually based books that fit into this wide category, to give a taste of this other form of reading.