When it comes to horror artwork, Kelley Jones is one of the industry’s best. That’s why it was so exciting when DC announced Jones would be drawing Daphne Byrne, a Hill House Comics miniseries written by playwright and novelist Laura Marks. Jones’ extensive experience in comics makes him an exceptional collaborator for Marks, who makes her comic-book debut with this story of a young Victorian girl whose entry into adolescence comes with supernatural baggage. The series continues the hot streak of Joe Hill’s Hill House Comics imprint, which offers exciting new takes on the horror genre executed with a high level of craft that enriches each book’s distinct perspective. Marks makes a very smooth transition to this new medium, recognizing the art team’s strengths and letting them drive the storytelling with ominous visuals showcasing the terrors that hide in shadows.
This exclusive preview of next week’s Daphne Byrne #2 shows the lead character the morning after a disturbing nightmare that may or may not have been real. The blood on her mattress is attributed to her “monthly humors,” but that doesn’t explain the ghastly spirits lurking around her. Jones creates an atmosphere of paranoia with panels composed to give the impression of someone watching these characters from beneath the bed or outside the window, and Michelle Madsen’s adds dimension to the linework without distracting from the stark shadows that fall over the characters and the environment. There’s a particularly striking panel of a water pitcher smashing against the ground and the liquid taking the shape of a skull, a small moment that spotlights how the art team inventively depicts this haunting to reinforce the omnipresence of the spirits around Daphne and her family.