Set in the Old West, Crawling Sky is a traditional story about good versus evil. The good is in the hearts of a grieving husband and a hardened Reverend, while the evil is what lurks on the outskirts of a small town.
The story begins as Reverend Jedidiah Mercer rides into the dusty town of Wood Tick, where he finds a group of children throwing rocks at the town crazy, Norville, who was locked up in stocks after begging the town sheriff for help, claiming a monster had taken his wife.
When the reverend arrives, he convinces the sheriff to release the troubled man into his care. Knowing that monsters do exist, the reverend is the only person capable of helping the devastated Norville.
What is rising from the well each night to feast on the forest creatures around Norville’s homestead? What so violently took his wife from him, and why?
The art of this gritty graphic novel not only tells the story but also sets the scene with the feeling of a traditional western. As Mercer rides into the dusty town of Wood Tick, I could almost hear the hooves of his horse as they hit the hardened clay of the old Texas landscape. Inked in tones of black and grey, reading this is just like watching a black and white western movie that was common in the 1930s. It is stark and bare in the best possible way.
Crawling Sky is an enjoyable read that didn’t take much time, but it did have a good story with a catchy tagline: Reverend Mercer came to get the hell out of town. Will good triumph over evil this time, or will the monster from the well have another meal?
This graphic novel is based on a short story originally written by Joe R. Lansdale titled Deadman’s Road. It follows the further adventures of the Mercer as he rides through the old East Texas countryside, slaying monsters and other horrors along the way.
It was transcribed into comic book format by his son Keith Lansdale, who currently has writing credits on one of the spooky stories on the horror series Creepshow (Shudder) and also has contributed to the Vampirella and X-Files comic book series. He has worked with his father on several screenplays and other spooky comic titles.
Brian Denham (X-Files, Zombie Kid Diaries) expertly renders the panels in black and white format, creating a tense and dramatic feeling to the entire story. Some panels needed no words and in those the art tells the dramatic and gruesome story without the need for colour.
Crawling Sky is what is known as a Weird West Horror and is recommended for mature readers.
Randy Wagner is assistant manager of High Octane Comics. For more, visit 250 Third Ave. or call 250-377-8444.