There has been a multitude of things that go bump in the night,but not many can match the uncanny horror of Spring Heeled Jack. In Tony Deans’ literary debut, he has unleashed upon the world a creepy killer who doesn’t seem to be quite human. Pitting Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself and his mentor Joseph Bell against the lurking menace of folklore Jack, this comic is sure to send shivers down your spine.
Set in Jack the Ripper-era London, the tale begins with a gruesome double murder that gives the readers a small taste of the seemingly inhuman menace of Spring Heeled Jack. His searing red eyes and unnervingly cold presence brings all of his victims to their knees, cowering in terror. Readers will not be immune to a bit of tingles going down their spine when Jack’s face is first revealed in all of its pale glory. With Scotland Yard at an utter loss, it’s up to Bell, with Doyle at his side, to track down the dark killer and bring him to justice.
The comic is based upon folklore, literature, and history. Spring Heeled Jack was an urban legend, originating in 1830’s London, and has inspired many tales based upon his near-demonic appearance and unnatural abilities. He is the Boogeyman with Freddy Krueger claws. His eyes burn into the reader’s very soul, even whilst luring his victims in with his deceptively soft voice.
Deans keeps both the dialogue and the action tight, going in short bursts from window to window. Martha Laverick swoops in using delightfully offbeat artwork to help heighten the readers’ sense of this surreal world. If there is any flaw it’s that some of the various references might go over readers’ heads, especially the character of Joseph Bell, whom Doyle used as inspiriation for the foundation of Sherlock Holmes. It’s a small issue though in the grand scheme of the narrative.
With skin-crawling artwork, unnerving writing, and a fantastic foundation in literature, Spring Heeled Jack is sure to leave readers hooked. The comic is definitely an eerie page-turner with a lot of promise