Horror has many faces.

That face could be obvious. A bloodthirsty monster with blood dripping from its lips stalking you in the night. Or it could be hidden. Like a deadly unknown hiding within yourself waiting to tear apart your dreams through fear and paranoia. Yet, still, maybe it’s a pleasant, helpful smile wanting to guide you through to find your past.

And the past has a nice set of razor-sharp teeth.

Sometimes the truth is too horrible. But sometimes… sometimes it must be told.”

Before he and Greg Capullo revitalized Batman for a new universe of DC readers, Scott Snyder first made a name for himself with horror. His breakout hit was American Vampire with Rafael Albuquerque. A series that took a kind of historical view of the spread of a new kind of vampirism across North America. Concurrent with his beginning on reimagining the Bat, he took a different tour through historical horror in Severed with Scott Tuft, Attila Futaki, Bill Nelson, Greg Guilhaumand, and Fonografiks.

Set in 1916, Severed follows Jack Brakeman, a young man whose world was essentially shattered when he found out he was adopted. Driven by correspondences with his father (nicely lain out in cursive by Fonografiks), Jack runs away from home and travels America in search of him. His journey is fraught with peril from the onset, jumping a train, and discovering that the world is full of duplicitous people. That even those in a position of power that should be there to protect can be dangerous, only looking out for themselves. This is kind of a running theme through the story, having Jack wonder who he can trust.

There’s a dustiness to the artwork from Attila Futaki. He utilizes a classical illustration style, full of detail and warmth, that I find reminiscent of someone like Norman Rockwell. It works well for the period and also kind of humanizes the horror. As the characters and settings are rich in detail and realism, the horrific nature of the villain becomes all the more present.

It’s also downright gorgeous. There’s a kind of dreamlike quality to the colours too. From Futaki and later Greg Guilhaumand as he takes over the later chapters. It evokes a kind of nostalgia for a simpler era during the Great War. Though it also helps hammer home the darkness when the story turns to a nightmare.

We have a big journey ahead of us.”

Severed from Snyder, Tuft, Futaki, Nelson, Guilhaumand, and Fonografiks is a road story. A coming-of-age horror tale; that’s one part adventure as our protagonist tries to find himself and one part terror as he realizes the two-faced nature of the monsters trying to lure him with his past. And that maybe home was the safest place for his dreams after all, until the past catches up with him.


Classic Comic Compendium: Severed

Writers: Scott Snyder & Scott Tuft
Artist: Attila Futaki
Additional Inks: Bill Nelson (chapter 4)
Colourist: Greg Guilhaumand (chapters 4-7)
Letterer: Fonografiks
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: August 3 2011 – February 8 2012 (original issues)

Read past entries in the Classic Comic Compendium!