On an unrelated subject, I stumbled upon a webcomic community www.bynightcomics.com which linked to this blog from their forum. The question posted in the forum was quite interesting “A truly scary comic… not possible.” I have tangled that same idea in this blog for a while. Like I’ve said before, Metasearch is a paranormal thriller not a horror comic. Any dwelling into the horror genre comes from the fact that the stories deal with the unknown, but is not meant to scare anyone. The whole horror genre in comic books is labeled such by their content and not their effects. Television and film have created our modern fictional nightmares. I have yet to hear from theater, although that in itself is an interesting premise. Literature has been the source of many a horror story, but I haven’t read anything that has scared me yet. The only story of this type I have ever encountered was someone who told me he read William Peter Blatty’s “The Exorcist,” and he had to sleep with the lights on for a month. Interesting enough, the original “Resident Evil” game for the PS made me jump a few times, and I was left with a sense of paranoia afterwards. And no, I wasn’t high. Come to think of it, the first “Rainbow Six” game for the PC made me paranoid about going up and down a flight of stairs, but that’s another story.
Based on the video game reference, I can only surmise that fear comes from the level of involvement of the viewer. I played alone at night with all the lights off, a big screen, surround sound, and I was pretty invested in the concept of a person alone in an abandoned mansion. Unlike drama, which is universal, horror and comedy are very subjective. I think the closest reference we can get to answer the fear question in a comic book is photography. Forensic books will make you cringe and shock you, but you will not be afraid that the man hit by a boat’s propeller will come out of your closet and eat you alive. I’ve seen photographs that have stirred all kinds of emotions in me, but never fear. The same goes for books, comics, and plays. Radio has scared me more than once when I was a kid. I was, and thanks to the web still am, a big fan of a radio show a la “Ripley’s Believe it or Not,” and some of the stories haunted me. Radio has the advantage of music, tone, passing, voice, and sound effects. Like a book, the visuals are left to your own imagination. So, I guess immersion is the key. Now good luck figuring that out in a comic book. My art in Metasearch has to do mainly with atmosphere, but how engaged my readers are, is up to them. I can provide the vehicle, but they have to be willing to be taken by the story. I’ll see you in the page.