The Wraith by Joe Hill
Series: Welcome to Christmasland
Also by this author: Welcome to Lovecraft
Published by IDW Publishing on August 5th 2014
Genres: Comics & Graphic Novels, Horror
Joe Hill's New York Times Bestselling novel, NOS4A2, introduced readers to the terrifying funhouse world of Christmasland, and the mad man who rules there: Charlie Talent Manx III. Now, in an original new comic mini-series, Hill throws wide the candy cane gates to tell a standalone story that is at once both accessible to new readers, and sure to delight fans of the book.
This book is so messed up. But, in all the best imaginable ways I think.
I went into this with some expectations. I have read NOS4A2 and the thought of getting a backstory that focused on Charlie “Talent” Manx III and Christmasland was quite exciting. I also love Joe Hill’s Locke and Key graphic novels, so, easy to assume, I really expected to enjoy this one as well.
And well I did. But I also have to admit, it was even creepier than I expected. I know Christmasland is creepy as hell. I know Charlie Manx is creepy as hell. But somehow, seeing someone else’s images of them gave this a little extra creep factor than I would have achieved if left to my own devices. That’s why I’m not professional illustrator! I just don’t know that my imagination can do quite as good of job as this.
It was definitely interesting getting Charlie Manx and Christmasland’s origin story. To see Manx before he became what we know him to be in NOS4A2 (a delusional, fanatical sociopath? I don’t know. I’m not a psychiatrist, but something about Manx is crazy and messed up), growing up, getting married, having kids (?!?!). Being relatively close to normal. That is, for a while anyway. Wouldn’t be much of a story otherwise.
In addition to Manx’s story, we also get the story of a group of inmates and their guards that were being transported in a van. Well, as you can imagine, things don’t go well for this group. There is one inmate who we get additional backstory on. I really enjoyed this story line. It gave us a bit of sweetness amidst the creepiness.
The final chapter in this is done in a completely different style. More text and the images are old school illustration style, not at all the creepy scary stuff we had so far. I was a bit skeptical when I started this section, but actually came around and really enjoyed it as well. And, once again, it gave me something a bit unexpected.
So, if you are a fan of Charlie Talent Manx, NOS4A2, creepy Christmasland, or even if you are new to these, and are not deterred by the illustrations, this is one hell of a creeptastic graphic novel and I’d definitely recommend it!