GHOST ISLAND #1 by Joseph Oliveria and Anabela Turlione
GHOST ISLAND #1 is a story that plays with common ghost story tropes. Joseph Oliveira and Anabela Turlione's pacing keep readers on the edge of their seats. Although some parts seem cliche, they overall play out differently than what you'd expect.
87 %
Terrifingly Good
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Ghost stories are always in season. Demons and spirit possessions are a prime example of an exciting and flexible storytelling trope. After all, the threat of being possessed by something ‘other’ is terrifying. GHOST ISLAND #1 by Joseph Oliveira and Anabela Turlione expands on this idea, giving us a narrative that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The creative team uses these in order to explore a new idea that is perhaps not the best one for our characters. But it’s absolutely thrilling for readers. And this sponsored review will look at how, exactly, GHOST ISLAND keeps you up at night!

Ghost Island #1
Courtesy of AfterLight Comics

The Story

GHOST ISLAND #1 starts with Joshua Evans, a psychic who helps people speak to the dead. He receives a mysterious letter from a Mr. P. Deakins requesting Evans’ help. Deakins requests Evans’ help. He asks Evans to meet at the docks by 9 AM the next morning to help in a spiritual reading. Of course, Deakins also promises to make it well worth Evans’ time, promising $2,000 for his services. This is a deal Evans cannot turn down, working as a psychic doesn’t exactly rake in the big bucks.

Upon arrival to the boat, Evans realizes he isn’t the only person Deakins’ has asked to show up. There is a watchman, his son, and two reporters. One reporter immediately recognizes Evans, revealing that Evans’ past isn’t exactly pristine. However, once the group gathers in front of Mr. Deakins, his true plan is revealed. He plans to start a ghost theme park and he needs each of these people’s help to run it. You read that right, a ghost theme park.

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Possessed by a Story

The beginning of GHOST ISLAND is captivating. It sets the tone of the story as well as gives us a good idea of who Joshua Evans is. The pacing perfectly balances the exciting moments of the story with its lulls without it being overwhelming.

The story starts off with Evans performing a séance for a family. They have recently lost a son and cannot seem to understand why or how. When Evans finally channels the boy, all hell breaks loose as the dark family secrets come out. This moment is done magnificently well. The atmosphere creates tension by having a father who is possibly drunk and a grieving mother bicker throughout the scene. The work of Oliveira’s story and Turlione’s art give us a fast-paced and uncomfortable situation, building on the tension of the séance itself. Their combination creates a discomfort that finally lets up once the secrets fall out. And the reader can definitely feel it.

There are some quiet moments where we get a lot of explanation. However, these moments are necessary and common within first issues. In order to establish the world, Oliveira and Turlione have to lay the foundations. But the explanation of the rules are executed well. Make sure you pay attention. The information can come so nonchalantly that, if reading too quickly, you can miss something important.

Ghost Island #1
Courtesy of AfterLight Comics

Eerie Art Creates Eerie Atmosphere

Anabela Turlione’s panel layout is crazy (in a good way). More often than not, the panels lack gutters, leaving the eye to wander from panel to panel much more quickly. This makes each scene feel more intense, giving readers a sense of unexpected dread. This creates an anxiety that the story strives for, and Turlione captures it perfectly. She keeps readers on edge by matching Oliveira’s story pacing. The creative team definitely knows how to play off and work with one another, and the artistry shows.

Turlione uses minimal hard borders, leaving the layout of each image to flow together. Additionally, her use of shadows creates an intense atmosphere. These shadows highlight faces that are similar, yet are creepily different. It feels necessary to commend Turlione’s use of shadows to further the narrative.

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How she highlights each character’s face gives us perspective of their personal intent. These shadows also amplify some of the eeriest parts of the comic. The lighting of some characters faces creates a feeling of distrust, like maybe we’re missing something in their story. The art reminds readers that perhaps not everyone’s intentions are all that clear. The shadows highlight how little we actually know about everyone.

GHOST ISLAND #1 Will Scare you

GHOST ISLAND #1 is definitely a comic I would recommend to my friends who love horror. Although some of the tropes of the story are recognizable, they’re still exciting and fun to see. The art reinforces the anxiety of the story, keeping readers on the edge of their seat from start to finish. Although getting issue one through the Kickstarter is no longer an option, Oliveira has a new Kickstarter where issues #1-3 are available. Honestly, I would recommend that route anyway. GHOST ISLAND #1 will leave you haunting for the next one.

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