FCBD 2015: And Then Emily Was Gone and Oxymoron Review
Written by: John Lees and Tyler James
Art by: Iain Laurie and Alex Cormack
I honestly can’t think of a better way to get people interested in And Then Emily Was Gone!
This Free Comic Book Day issue gives us a prelude to the horror series in the form of a short called “The Strange Case of Billy McTaggart”. Billy McTaggart is a young boy who becomes convinced that Bonnie Shaw, a creature from Scottish folklore, is out to get him. Billy’s parents think that he simply has an active imagination and needs to toughen up. After all, Bonnie Shaw only goes after kids whose parents offer them up in exchange for getting whatever their hearts desire. What danger could Billy possibly be in if his parents love him?
It’s creepy and great and John Lees has excellent pacing that really makes the story. Even without knowledge of Bonnie Shaw, Lees does a great job of explaining the idea of this Boogeyman-like creature without hitting us over the head and ruining the dread of the story. Lees also writes some very nice dialogue between characters which pulls you in as you realize that something seems not quite right with Billy’s parents.
Iain Laurie’s art helps pull everything together though, and I found myself falling more in love with it as the story progressed. Laurie’s style is very weird and rough. Rough line work, bizarre textures, and imperfect character designs all add to the overall horror and mystique of the events at hand. Quite a few panels have some very scary and amazingly detailed panels that I found myself stopping on pages for minutes at a time just to take it all in. It’s a little bit Squidbillies and a little bit Superjail if I could compare it to anything but it’s remarkably unique and doesn’t look like anything else on the market.
This issue also gives us a taste of Oxymoron, a series about a psychopathic villain obsessed with contradiction. The selection they give us, called “Counterclockwise”, follows this villain as he attempts to gain control of a grandfather clock owned by Master Time so that he travel back in time and mess around with important historical events to send the present into complete chaos.
Tyler James does a decent enough job of writing and there are some fairly hilarious parts towards the end that involve a punk rock chrono-fairy. Oxymoron himself is a fairly darkly humorous main character and the idea of a villain solely existing to set up contradictions is pretty interesting in and of itself. The selection is also great because it introduces us enough plot that we get an idea of what the comic is about without giving away too much, which is perfect to get people interested in the series.
Alex Cormack’s art is crisp and colorful and it’s a great comic to look at. Character designs are nicely varied, with each character getting enough detail that we get a glimpse into their character simply by looking at their design. Environments are also nicely done, and Master Time’s home has some interesting design quirks that are visually appealing.
This is one of the better Free Comic Book Day comics and is a great selection for horror fans. While And Then Emily Was Gone overshadows Oxymoron, they both are different enough to hold their own.
I can say that I’m completely sold on And Then Emily Was Gone because of this issue and the fact that they made such a compelling story for nothing more than a prelude tells me all I need to know about the rest of the series. I’m hooked and I want more!
Free Comic Book Day takes place Saturday May 2nd at participating stores. For more information about Free Comic Book Day and a list of stores participating in events, go to FreeComicBookDay.com.
FCBD And Then Emily Was Gone
- Highly unique art unlike any other comic out there
- Spooky story that’s paced perfectly
- You WILL want to read this series after this tease
- Oxymoron is interesting as well and a nice addition for this Free Comic Book Day Issue
- Oxymoron isn’t as strong as And Then Emily Was Gone so some readers may skip it all together