The opening panels of Image’s Coffin Bound #1, with its dilapidated creepy shack in the middle of nowhere, gives one instant Texas Chainsaw Massacre vibes. Is the woman we see slowly waking up in the middle of bones, doll parts, and detritus a victim of some sort of horrible Ed Gein-type nightmare?
No, it is just Izzy, our goth-like protagonist (yeah, I said “goth,” I’m trying to “sell” this goddamn book with hi-concept terms the masses understand so fucking sue me). Her companion, Vulture, is a type of bird skull in a bird cage on top of a human-like armature. And she’s being pursued by these gangster-like like goons who inform her that something called the “EarthEater” has her marked for death.
So far, this may sound like any number of direct-to-streaming original TV series starring Krysten Ritter. What grounds Coffin Bound particularly to the current zeitgeist, however, is the running idea of “wiping out” every trace of one’s life…”Unliving.” Which reminded me instantly of “scrubbing” one’s history off the Internet.
The characters in Coffin Bound seem to be very uncomfortable with simply “existing” on the Earth, in this material reality. As Izzy’s friend Ben explains:
Surfaces. Repugnant. They divide one thing from another and if they’re of flesh they acquire sweat and pus and if they aren’t flesh they acquire dust and grime and faeces.
This type of “mortifying the flesh” type view–along with the desire to “unlive” one’s life–is very Gnostic. It’s these sorts of “deeper” elements that writer Dan Watters infuses the story with that lend it a bit more substance and “weight.”
Watters has a bit of a challenge any writer might have on a brand-new comic with all-new characters…how to grab a reader’s interest when there’s literally dozens of other indie books on the stands all vying for their attention. In short: he has a relatively small amount of space (a single comic issue) to make you care about his characters and the unique world they inhabit.
Helping this along is the excellent art by Dani, creating a Rob Zombie-Meets-Clive Barker type of vibe. The compositions are dynamic enough to drive and enhance the more philosophical parts of the narrative. And the “neon” palette set by colorist Brad Simpson is a riot of jarringly contrasting and yet visually interesting hues.
Lastly, I do want to mention that Coffin Bound brought to mind those Marvel horror comics of the 1970’s, if that is something that might create a bit of added appeal to you.
FM Rating: 7/10
Please note: my rating here is for the first issue of the comic; a big part of that being, would I try another issue? This would of course be distinct from, say, a rating of the entire story arc, or series. I suppose that’s all rather obvious, but I did want to make that distinction.