Writer: Vita Ayala, Linework & Lettering: Michael Walsh, Colors: Toni Marie Griffin & Michael Walsh, Edits: Chris Hampton.
Image Comics' The Silver Coin is an anthology of stories centered around the cursed influence of the titular coin. The coin makes its way through history, darkening the hearts of those unfortunate enough to cross its path. I have been in love with this series since the first issue, and this week's issue is no different. An overarching story has been teased on the horizon, and now we are beginning to see this brought to fruition.
The Silver Coin #9 pulls from real life horror to fulfill its objective of terror. The Bronx in the 1970s was plagued by urban decay wherein properties were purposefully burned down for insurance money . . . sometimes with the residents still inside. The Bronx was burning, like its own Hell brought to Earth. This is where we find our "protagonist", burning down buildings for "coin", as it were.
The metaphor for abused capitalism is quite blunt here, the coin's eye opening more and more as buildings burn and money is made. The art makes this apparent with the visage of the coin looming over many scenes of violence and evil. The art is, as always, top notch. Thick lines and muted colors express deep shadows and an inherent dread, while the illustrations themselves are often grounded in their lack of detail. Faces are often obscured or lack detail in many panels, yet the emotional expression remains. The art's ability to curate a chilling, descriptive atmosphere is able to express character emotion without relying solely on facial expression. The environment works in tandem with the subject to establish emotional tones throughout.
The writing is paced well, mirroring the almost overwhelming panic caused by the complex panel layouts and boundary-breaking splash pages. The lettering is hurriedly scratched and frantic while the prose detail a frightened world. News bites detail horrors, not unlike our own today, that creates an impatient tension, a lit fuse anxious to reach its home. Dramatic irony is well used with these news bites to create layers of horror and pain as the coin draws more and more evil from our main character.
The terror of The Silver Coin is not found in its viscera or occult currency, but rather its ability to point out the evils in us all. The coin merely drags out what has always laid beneath, shirking the mask we all wear to be accepted in society. The Silver Coin #9 brings this brand of macabre to the historical streets of New York City, reiterating the horrors we have been able to commit all on our own. Horror could be described as facing the fear of the unknown (I'm a big Lovecraft lit fan). Nothing is more unknown than that which we are capable of in the dark.
If this style of horror is your jam, I highly recommend you pick this book up when it releases Wednesday, February 16 at YOUR LOCAL COMIC BOOK SHOP or Image Comics' website!
Austin Kemp read Batman #315 (Batman vs Kite Man) when he was 5 years old, and hasn't stopped reading comics since. Austin is a college writing teacher and has a masters degree in Comics Studies. Austin and his partner, Savanah, live in Massachusetts with their master, a cat named Chaplin.