LONG LOST #1 BY MATTHEW ERMAN AND LISA STERLE
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
LONG LOST #1 is not your cliché malaise, there's something more to it. Erman and Sterle manage to guide readers through their Scout debut without being overbearing. LONG LOST #1 is a tale spun from subtlety that gives life to the uneasiness you feel when you're home alone. If the following installments are half as good, LONG LOST will serve as a reference text for students of unrest for years to come.
96 %
A Must-Read
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The latest addition to the already-phenomenal Scout Comics line, LONG LOST #1 just might be the jewel in the upstart publisher’s crown.

For the Introvert in All of Us

Suspense is crucial to the production of effective horror. LONG LOST #1, with its mystery and subtlety, sets the stage for what’s sure to be one of 2017’s most acclaimed indie debuts. It’s hard to discern just exactly what’s happening in LONG LOST #1 — but I can tell you this: LONG LOST centers itself around Piper, an introverted young woman who’s the victim of a series of strange occurrences. As the eerie events grow more frequent and increasingly grotesque, so do the appearances of a strange shadowy creature.

Read: Want more from Scout Comics? Take a look at our review of HEAVENLY BLUES #1!

Reading LONG LOST #1 (by Matthew Erman and Lisa Sterle) will make you feel uncomfortable. Between Sterle’s sparing, yet impactful, use of body horror and Erman’s uncomfortable bus conversations, it’s apparent that LONG LOST’s creative team are adepts of the unease in all its forms. Let’s unpackage how, shall we?

Image from LONG LOST #1, courtesy of Scout Comics.

“Can my dog drink coffee?”

Writer Matthew Erman has presented readers with a character who, even at rest, has yet to seem comfortable. Though this is only the first issue, it’s clear that Piper wants nothing more than to be left alone by everyone, except her tiny canine companion, Pockets. Yet, of course, she’ll never get her way (thanks in part to the arrival of her sister, Frances). Upon her introduction, Frances appears to be nothing less than the antithesis of our closed-off protagonist.

The divide between these two sisters is particularly noticeable in regards to their communication skills. Piper doesn’t pick up her phone or respond to texts. As far as we’ve seen, she really only talks to Pockets. On the other hand, Frances is bubbly and talkative, even with strangers. In her solitude, Piper’s presentation is nothing out of the ordinary, in that Erman gives us an accurate representation of the millennial ennui. This isn’t often seen in horror, but with an entire generation eager to consume self-reflective media, it’s bound to take off soon. LONG LOST is just at the head of the pack.

Stylistically Perfect

LONG LOST #1 is more show than tell due to its sparse dialogue and lack of an inner monologue. That’s where artist Lisa Sterle comes in. Sterle doesn’t just draw backgrounds, she punctuates visually. Via her backgrounds, Sterle conveys both importance and emotion to the reader via dark hazes, tonal shading, and anxious linework. Sterle’s use of color is sparse — with only one object appearing outside of grayscale in the entirety of LONG LOST #1. This, in tandem with her use of multiple inking techniques, prevents any reader from settling down too much.

Sterle’s commitment to producing top tier horror permits readers to relax as much as Piper — as in, not at all. Outside of inciting and perpetuating unrest, Sterle’s artistic forte is without a doubt her command over emotion. While I’m generally opposed to word-bare pages, Sterle’s rendering of Piper is so powerful that it eliminates the need for an inner monologue or over-explanatory speech bubbles; the determination, the anxiety, the malaise, the devastation — it’s all right there on the page.

Long Lost #1
Image from LONG LOST #1, courtesy of Scout Comics.

Final Thoughts on LONG LOST #1

For those of you who prefer a quick payoff, maybe skip LONG LOST. As issue one conveyed, LONG LOST is a building horror. LONG LOST is exactly what I’ve been searching for in a horror comic. It doesn’t hit shelves till November 29th, so make sure you tell your neighborhood comic shop to add this to your pull list. This is a comic you don’t want to miss!

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