Title: Long Lost Volume One
Publisher: Scout Comics
Writer: Matthew Erman
Artist: Lisa Sterle
Release Date: June 27, 2018
TL;DR: Just, wow. Long Lost is an organically created horror story that focuses on tension and atmosphere, and its slow burn is incredibly rewarding. Fans of The Junji Ito Collection will truly enjoy the artwork and the stressful unease brought to life by Matthew Erman and Lisa Sterle.
Story and Writing
As a horror fanatic, I am constantly on the lookout for things to scratch my never-ending need for all things spooky, creepy, and mysterious. While projects that tend to lean toward the more extreme side of horror, like Outlast or the Saw franchise, are enjoyable, I really love atmospheric horror. Much like Stephen King, the true kings of horror are more worried about tension and nuance versus shocking gore. And Long Lost definitely follows this same line of thinking.
This horror comic series follows two sisters, Frances and Piper, as they are mysteriously back to the one place they are trying to forget:
Created by husband/wife duo, Matthew Erman and Lisa Sterle, Long Lost is like Stranger Things meets Ghost World. It tells the haunting story of two estranged sisters who find themselves drawn back to their small southern hometown to unlock the strange mysteries hidden there, with all roads leading back to their enigmatic, secretive mother.
The beginning is a bit of a slow burn, but it has a beautiful purpose. Now, don’t let “slow burn” frighten you away. Spooky things begin almost immediately, but they definitely aren’t the main focus. In the beginning, developing the relationship between the two sisters definitely takes precedence. And these are some fabulous characters. Frances and Piper are both super relatable, and anyone with a sibling will totally understand their somewhat complicated relationship. And after firmly establishing their relationship, the story really takes on a truer meaning once everything starts to take off.
Lisa Sterle’s artwork is a terrific match for the Gothic horror vibe of Erman’s story. The illustrations are mainly black and white with pops of red every now and then, but Long Lost Volume One features beautifully illustrated covers and inner pages that enhance the vibe set by this power couple. Before the characters even speak, each are illustrated in such a way that their personalities already shine through. Just by looking at Frances for the first time, you know she’s more upbeat and quirkier than her more serious sister, Piper.
As someone who loves color, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the black and white of Long Lost. However, it quickly became clear how important the choice was. As beautiful as Sterle’s colorful cover illustrations are, I don’t think the inside pages would have been as spooky in color. The pops of red are really great additions, and some of the more gruesome panels require a moment of thought to decipher what’s going on due to the black and white color scheme. But that totally adds to the small moments of shock value.
Final Thoughts on Long Lost Volume One
RATING: 5 OUT OF 5
If you’re looking for a bit of gothic horror, a tale about family and reconnection, or just looking to support a local pair of creators, Long Lost is something you definitely need to see. Volume One contains comics one through six, and I literally can’t wait to get my hands on the next part of the series. I’m emotionally invested in Piper and Frances’ journey, and I’m eager to discover the secrets of Hazel Patch.
Issue 7 of Long Lost is scheduled to hit stores sometime this month, and I hope you’re looking forward to it as much as I am!