Writing: Dan Watters, Art: Casper Wijngaard, Letters: Aditya Bidikar.
The Home Sick Pilots are a teen punk band, who just want to make it. To do so, however, they need to put on a show better than the current hottest band, the Nuclear Bastards, who decided to put on a show, of all places, in an abandoned bowling alley. Home Sick Pilots leader Ami has a great idea though, she wants to put on a show at the haunted house. This will be the ultimate event. If anyone doesn’t turn up, well then they believe in the silly ghost stories. After a slight disagreement with her foster parents, Ami decided to check out the house and see what could be done with it. However, do any of these silly stories actually have some merit to them?
From the mind of Dan Watters, the creator of Coffin Bound comes this tale of a student band who want to be the best punk band in town. This is an interesting first issue as we don’t get much of a backstory to any character except Ami. We find out that she is a foster child and clearly into music. Buzz and Rip are the other members of the band. Rip is cocky and hotheaded, but all we get from him and Buzz is mostly a mystery at the moment. This first issue is just setting the stage for something epic, as we see in the first few panels.
This comic is a mix of horror and action. Dan Watters is definitely equipped to deal with such a book, since his horror elements in Coffin Bound really worked. Where Coffin Bound felt like a western, HSP feels more along the contemporary lines of Scott Pilgrim. The writing is good for now with this air of mystery to everything, which is what keeps readers on edge with any horror comic. Having these mysterious characters also gives an edge, especially when they are meant to be gothic and punk rockers of the 1990s. We are also given this kind of mystery with the haunted house, as we are spoon fed little bits of information that could be either true or false.
The art by Casper Wijngaard also delivers the mystery, with a quick view of the house on the first page, with a purple light streaming out of it. We don’t get to see it fully again until page 16. We only see small silhouettes of the house, pushing the mystery element of the house itself. We also get a fairly normal panel layout while the stuff is being set up. Then once the characters are inside the house, the traditional layout is thrown out for one that’s more random and sharp, moulding well with what’s being portrayed within the story at the time.
This is where the Scott Pilgrim elements come in—although HSP is in colour and SP was in black and white—we get a shift of saturation and contrast, making it as though it’s told in just the few colours (as seen above). We also get over the top violence, which is also very reminiscent of the Bryan Lee O’Malley series.
Overall, despite very little set up of the characters, we get an intriguing first issue that does set up a lot of mystery. From the looks of things, we could be getting a strange mix of The Shining and Power Rangers, which is something I never thought I would say.
Home Sick Pilots was released on 9th December from your local comic shop, as well as comixology