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Advanced Review – The Belfry (One-Shot)

The Belfry (One Shot)
The Belfry (One Shot)
  • Story: Gabriel Hardman
  • Art: Gabriel Hardman
  • Letters & Design: Gabriel Hardman
  • Publisher:  Image Comics
  • Release Date: February 22, 2017


Spoiler Free

Thanks to Image Comics for sending us this advanced review copy of The Belfry.

The man responsible for The Belfry

Gabriel Hardman is known for drawing and writing comics including Kinski, Star Wars Legacy and Invisible Republic as well as for his storyboard work on Inception (2010), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and Interstellar (2014). The Belfry is the author’s one-shot attempt at a short, self-contained horror story about a plane crash in which all passengers survive just to find themselves wishing they had died minutes later.

“This is my dark trip into a world that’s a little surreal, a little nihilistic, and all terrifying,” said Hardman. “I wanted to flex some different storytelling muscles, and that led me down the road to eye-gouging violence and naked bat people.”

The Belfry one shot

Art & Flow

The Belfry is dark, and I’m not just talking about the murky, blackish shading which is Hardman’s signature. I mean the creepy kind of darkness, the one you see in horror movies and can tell something evil lurks in. There is much of his characteristic diagonal panels which confer a frantic dynamics to the story and several dramatic camera angle shifts that corroborate with the nearly exclusively visual storytelling. Gabriel still plays with sounds changing the size, color, shape, texture and weight of the lettering in order to give his private nightmare a more accurate timbre. 

And that brings me to the annoyance of characters which cannot finish their thoughts. This is the only thing off-key in the book. He might have meant it as a way to show people were in shock after the accident or given everything else they have to go through with the human-like vampire bats. Either way, it feels irritating, confusing and slows down reading, making a second reading necessary since you cannot fully grasp what is happening from trying once.

All in all, the Belfry is an unequivocal pick if you’re a fan of Hardman’s art or just getting acquainted with his work.

The Belfry: ascend at your own risk (one-shot) hits comic book stores Wednesday, February 22nd.

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About the author

Kenia Santos

Sci-Fi geek. Book nerd. Art enthusiast. Comics dork. Board game buff. Crooked poet. Full time thinker. Weekend photographer. EFL teacher. Free spirit. Friendly soul. Fat kid.

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