Kill Your Darlings #1 Review

Image Comics has released a captivating new series called Kill Your Darlings that seamlessly blends horror and fantasy. Written by Ethan S. Parker and Griffin Sheridan, with art by Bob Quinn and lettering by John J. Hill, the first issue introduces readers to a world of childhood imagination and ancient evil.

The story begins with a traumatic flashback to 1692 before jumping ahead to 1995, where we meet Rose, an imaginative eight-year-old girl. Rose spends her days in a vibrant fantasy world of her own creation while her overwhelmed mother tries to make ends meet. Initially, everything seems normal in both Rose’s reality and her make-believe world of Rosewood. However, an ancient and mysterious evil soon threatens both realms.

The writing in Kill Your Darlings #1 is truly impressive. Parker and Sheridan manage to create an entirely new world filled with intricate details before introducing the horror elements that subvert the story. The characters are memorable but understated, each possessing subtle dimensions that make them feel authentic. The world-building follows the same principle, relying on the reader’s sense of nuance to navigate the simplistic world of a child, resulting in an effective and rewarding experience. The dialogue and narration are naturalistic and convincing, especially coming from Rose. The issue authentically captures a child’s perspective without feeling grating or contrived. In fact, the comic is surprisingly funny in a buoyant and often ironic way that balances wit and earnestness.

The conclusion of the first issue is emotionally devastating after all the wonderful exposition. Structured to deliver maximum impact, it sets the stage for the next issue to be a radical and captivating departure from the debut.

Bob Quinn’s art in Kill Your Darlings #1 is dense, complex, and absolutely stunning. The illustrations are filled with texture and photorealism, creating a visually rich experience. The panel design is engaging and dynamic, generating a feeling of momentum and emotion from one page to the next. The comic also features striking full-page spreads that bookend the story, emphasizing significant moments. The characters are gorgeously expressive, whether they are imaginary beings from Rose’s army or real-world people. The deliberate contrast between the fantasy elements and their reality counterparts is executed flawlessly and adds to the charm of the comic.

Quinn’s exceptional understanding of light and depth brings the story to life. The colors in Kill Your Darlings #1 are faultless and effectively control the tone and setting of the comic. The delineation between the vibrant fantasy world and the dull tones of reality is visually striking. Quinn’s use of browns and grays effectively conveys the drudgery of the real world. Moreover, his understanding of light creates breathtaking moments that range from tender to blood-curdling.

John J. Hill’s lettering perfectly complements the rest of the comic. He utilizes multiple fonts and colors to bring Rose’s fantasy world to life. The alternate font used for her imaginary friends adds a different gravity to Rosewood and incorporates nice flourishes and sound effects.

Kill Your Darlings #1 is an ambitious and unique project that displays talent from every member of the creative team. Despite being an expository issue, the story progresses smoothly and never feels exhausting. The opening unfolds naturally, providing an organic introduction to the series. The conclusion takes a bold and gut-wrenching turn, demonstrating that the true potential of the series is only beginning to unfold.

Overall, Kill Your Darlings #1 is an impressive debut that bridges the gap between horror and fantasy. With its compelling storytelling, stunning artwork, and unique concept, it sets the stage for a thrilling and captivating series.