Rural towns are common in the horror genre, and for good reason. Creators are constantly exploring the terrifying secrets of tight-knit communities that have their own traditions and beliefs, and the new Image Comics miniseries Winnebago Graveyard continues in this tradition by taking readers to a small California town full of cultists. Writer Steve Niles is one of the most reliable names in comics for chilling, insightful horror stories, and he’s teamed up with artist Alison Sampson and colorist Stéphane Paitreau to bring this haunting world to life with style and specificity.
This exclusive preview of June’s Winnebago Graveyard #1 begins the story by throwing readers directly into a satanic ritual, providing no information about the victims or the hooded figures sacrificing them. There’s a single moment of calm in that first panel, but once the trucks pull into the motel parking lot, the terror takes over. Sampson’s artwork creates an outstanding sense of place and an unsettling atmosphere, and her scratchy inking brings an extra element of chaos to the visuals.
The frenzy of those first three pages fades for the two-page spread revealing the valley where the sacrifice will take place, and that visual brings an element of majesty to the proceedings with the towering mountains and clouds in the shape of giant animals with their mouths open. Paitreau’s grainy rendering adds even more texture to the visuals, and the contrast of hot and cold colors heightens the tension of the story. There’s a lot of attention to detail, and readers can discover the full scope of this series when the first issue goes on sale June 14.