Anathema (noun): 1. a person or thing accursed or consigned to damnation or destruction. 2. a horror comic mini-series written by Rachel Deering with art by Chris Mooneyham.
As Anathema opens, Puritan-era lovers Mercy and Sarah are discovered by Sarah’s father. As Sarah is dragged away to face punishment for heresy Mercy flees but returns in time to see her lover not only burned at the stake but her soul consumed by monstrous black ravens. Filled with fear and guilt, Mercy goes to an old wise man named Heinrich who tells her of the evil that now possesses Sarah’s soul and helps Mercy gain the power she needs to save her beloved…by transforming her into a werewolf!
The first issue of Anathema was funded through Kickstarter and possesses a level of quality on par with any comic you’d see coming from any major creator-owned publisher, be it Vertigo, Image or Oni Press. The combination of Deering’s script and Mooneyham’s artwork gives the comic a perfect Hammer-films-meets-Hellboy kind of feel. While there’s no date or location explicitly given the atmosphere is perfectly captured, instantly transporting the reader into the story. There is a lot of set-up in the first issue of this six-issue miniseries and elements of it are relatively familiar (a quest for pieces of an evil that’s looking to be reborn), but it does exactly what a first issue should do: get you invested in these characters and make you want to keep reading. While the “lesbian werewolf romance” angle could be played for exploitation or titillation it’s done in a way that fits the tone and style of the rest of the book perfectly.
Issues two through six of Anathema are available to be funded through Kickstarter right now, and those of us going to C2E2 this April 13th through the 15th will have a chance to buy print copies of issue one from Rachel and Chris at booth #719 and you can read a five page preview of issue one one on her website.
Anathema is a project that has an amazing amount of potential and I sincerely hope that the rest of the issues get funded. I have a feeling that anyone who checks out the first issue will be more than happy to help put in funding for the others, and I give Anathema #1 4 out of 5 bloody lesbian werewolf make-outs.