By W.Maxwell Prince, Martin Morazzo, Chris O’Halloran, Good Old Neon
As much as I love Ohio (where I was born and raised), I always have two fears nagging me in the back of my mind: spiders (of which at least half a dozen poisonous ones reside in Ohio according to Google), and creepy adults. Growing up, I was always told to watch out for strangers, don’t stay out past dark, and not to follow people into unfamiliar territory. It’s relatively good advice for a child, but these days you never know who exactly to trust and who has someone chained up in their basement.
Ice Cream Man #1 perfectly encapsulates my fears while also making a strong new debut for Image Comics and its creators…
Our story begins innocently enough as a group of children gather around a friendly ice cream truck to buy some frozen treats. The vendor smiles and hands out the ice cream, casually asking one boy where his parents are. It’s something I didn’t catch on the first read-through, but its a deceptively dark bit of foreshadowing for the following page. The boy returns home to his pet spider Rupert, and deceased parents sitting at the kitchen table. The boy, being young and slightly dim-witted, thinks his parents are just sick and goes about his business with Rupert by his side.
I’ve tried twice today to describe this comic to various friends, and I keep falling back to Rod Sterling and The Twilight Zone. The comic is a creepy little story about a boy and his venomous spider, with the Ice Cream Man popping in and out of the story at surprising intervals. In fact, the last page hints he may have caused the events of the story itself. Dying may be easy, but horror is a tricky genre. With such a scarcity of bone-chilling stories available, it makes comics like Ice Cream Man all the more special.
The art by Martin Morazzo has a quaint but off-kilter vibe. Everyone is reasonably proportioned, but also ugly in their own way. It works well in establishing the macabre tone of the script, with every page oozing this unhinged quality. Chris O’Halloran’s colors add to this, using deep purples and mauve along with bright oranges. His colors give dimension to Morazzo’s less detailed penciling, creating a rich visual experience. Hopefully Morazzo continues drawing comics in the vein of horror, as this issue shows his talent for it.
While initially I was morbidly curious about this issue, I have to say it surpassed my expectations nicely against strong competition from another Image title I’m quite fond of. In forty pages, I laughed, felt terror, and craved more after finishing it.
For fans of gallows humor, suspense, and terror of the classic variety, Ice Cream Man #1 is sure to satisfy all your tastes “Lickety Split”!