I think there is something to be said about a writer who also supplies the visuals for his story; I have an additional amount of reverence for one who is skilled in the art of both. Enter one Terry Moore. I vaguely remember the circumstances which guided my literary sensibilities to explore the world of Rachel Rising; could have been premeditated or perhaps it was an impulse-purchase. Whichever the case, I’m glad I took a plunge-of-faith.
There aren’t too many comics writers who dabble in the horror genre; Robert Kirkman, J. Michael Straczynski, Joe Hill and Scott Snyder being some of the few who immediately come to mind. Unlike superhero stories, horror isn’t an easy beast to tame. It takes a certain type of mind – and imagination – to create a story that’s engaging, enticing to look at, and completely creepy. Mix in a smidgen of humor and you’ve got yourself the focus of our wee discussion.
Rachel Rising begins with several pages of sequential art sans any dialogue to guide the narrative. It’s a subtle and artistically successful way in which to introduce us readers to Moore’s protagonist. Her name is Rachel, and for reasons yet unknown, she has just clawed her way out of a makeshift grave with no idea as to how she got there; besides the strangulation marks from a rope adorning her neck, her memory of the events leading up to her awaking underground is nonexistent. What’s even more terrifying, is that she appears to be dead; or, on the cusp of death anyway. All of her body’s systemic functions are riding at a level any sentient being should not be able to sustain “life” at. For all intents and purposes, she’s a reanimated corpse. But Rachel’s situation isn’t the creepiest part of Moore’s tale. We’re exposed to all sorts of weird, supernatural phenomena transpiring in Manson, the town in which our story unfolds. I won’t go into any further detail, lest I ruin the fun for you; but trust me when I tell you, strange things are afoot at the Circle K – if ya know what I mean.
The interior art of Rachel Rising is rendered in black and white – a nice touch that adds a sort of Hitchcockian vibe to it. The story itself – in terms of pacing and plot revelations – reminds me a bit of Joe Hill’s Locke & Key series; another purchase-worthy title that I highly recommend. Rising is definitely a book that either needs to be on your monthly pull-list or on your must-read-trades list. I feel like the title hasn’t gotten enough consistent press on the geek sites, or maybe it has and I’m just now taking notice; like a blind man seeing the sun for the first time. Interestingly enough, the title garnered attention from Alcon Television Group who optioned the property for a live-action series back in 2013. Like most properties awaiting their day in the mainstream-spotlight, this may be another instance of “purgatory hell” for a licensed comic book property. Silver lining? This gives you plenty of time to read-up. After all, the adaptation is rarely better than the source material.