The Chair: Graphic Novel Review
• Publisher (Alternacomics) • Erin Kohut (Editor)
• Get it now (Amazon)
"The Chair" is the type of story perfect for translating into a horror movie. It brims with atmosphere and is a genuinely unsettling read from the start to its bleak conclusion.
By the end of the trade, I smirked because as of now "The Chair" is streaming on Amazon.
Richard Sullivan has been on death row for 10 years in relation to various murders, including children. He claims innocent to the crimes he's been convicted of but as the old adage goes every inmate in the penitentiary claims to be innocent.
In addition to the death sentence, the prison is run by a sadistic warden and equally vicious guards. As cell mates begin to be executed Sullivan begins looking for a way out but the rabbit hole of depravity goes deeper than even he realizes.
I'm a horror and suspense guy. When I heard the premise for the series it was right up my alley. It managed to subvert my expectations at every turn, without cheating. The narrative drip feeds information and midway through the story I realized I wasn't going to be able to put the book down until I finished it.
The comic also does a great job of building tension with implied violence instead of excessive gore. It's easy to depict gore but Peter and Kevin do a great job of letting things happen off panel. This allows the readers imagination to wander. It also has the effect of making some of the scenes even more unsettling.
The book isn't perfect though. There are some plot holes and artistic deficiencies in the narrative that hold it back. One of the deaths depicted early in the story comes across really bad and I had to look at the series of panels several times to understand what the artist was trying to convey. I don't have a problem with the art, in general, its solid enough and gets the point of the story across. That scene really jumped out at me as rough.
I also think that there is a fundamental flaw in the basis of the main characters incarceration. I won't reveal it to avoid spoilers. It hurts the narrative but only does so if you think about it too much. Even with the hiccup, I did manage to stay immersed in the narrative from beginning to end.
Overall this is an excellent story . If you're a fan of horror it's a can't miss read. I'm excited to watch "The Chair" on Amazon and may do a movie to comic comparison afterward. Peter and Kevin have created a literal hellscape that I was grateful to have spent time visiting but also appreciative that it doesn't exist in the real world...hopefully.