Writer: Caitlin Kittredge
Artist: Inaki Miranda
Release Date: October 9, 2013
In what is undeniably the age of the zombie, it’s refreshing to see a good old unspeakable-evil-unleashed-in-the-woods story. Coffin Hill, part of Vertigo’s recent surge of new titles, delivers exactly that. It’s the story of Eve Coffin, scion of a monied New England family whose roots stretch as far back as its curse. Which is, of course, to the Salem Witch Trials. After a debaucherous night of drinking, drugs, and witchcraft in the forest (what could possibly go wrong?), Eve and her friend wake up covered in blood, surrounded by dead animals. When Eve returns home 10 years later as an out-of-action cop, her sordid past awaits her.
Caitlin Kittredge may be new to comics but, having written the Black London and Nocturne City series of novels, she’s no stranger to dark, fantastic tales of magic and menace. Her prose muscles flex their tightest in Eve’s internal monologues, which brim with sass, angst, and hard-boiled flecks of Sam Spade. Like any good first installment, this issue raises loads of questions and ultimately succeeds in building intrigue. And though Coffin Hill can feel a little disjointed at times, you get the sense that Kittredge knows exactly where she’s going, and that the real fun will be discovering what manner of supernatural horrors lie beneath all this groundwork.
For his part, Inaki Miranda’s stylistically-large black gutters hint at the unplumbed depths of the Coffin family, practically daring you not to wonder. Miranda and colorist Eva De La Cruz work best with birds and blood spatter. A frenzied murder of crows in an old crypt, blood-drenched girls traumatized in the woods — these are visuals that not only stand out, but linger a while after the book is closed.
My favorite aspect of Coffin Hill thus far is that I have no idea where it’s going. Kittredge seems familiar enough with the clichés she’s butting up against to avoid them, and the potential for twisted skeletons in the Coffin family closet is rich to say the least. It’ll be nice to watch this tale flesh itself out.