Coffin Hill is a comics series that I want to enjoy. And I often do.
But I struggle with it.
Published by Vertigo, an imprint of DC Comics that publishes creator-owned comics, Coffin Hill has a strong, compelling female protagonist named Eve Coffin, a beautiful-but-scarred former cop trying to escape her family legacy of old money blue blood witchcraft in the haunted New England community of Coffin Hill. Each month, co-creator and writer Caitlin Kittridge challenges Eve with horrific adversaries, but also gives her an engaging supporting cast, like her lover, the Coffin Hill police chief Nate Finn, or Finn’s deputy, Annabelle Wilcox, or Eve’s crippled, bitter mother, Ellie.
The variety of cast and settings (including shifting time periods) is a fascinating component of the series, but also a challenge for readers, both veteran and (especially) new.
In this issue, Eve deals with the aftermath of a recent supernatural battle. Finn is in a hospital, and his replacement as police chief, Leland Starr, is interrogating Ellie about her involvement in an old homicide case. And Eve is being haunted by the spirit of her ancestor, the witch Emma, the original Coffin Hill witch, who, we learn, was betrayed centuries ago by her daughter, Evelyn.
Eve, Ellie, Emma, and Evelyn… following the narrative amid the shifting characters and settings can be challenging. The creative team helps us out this issue by giving readers a “The Story So Far” page to recap what has gone before. Artist and co-creator Inaki Miranda, with assistance from colorist Eva de la Cruz, also helps readers keep track of the different characters by providing them with distinctive looks, and the artists are adept at depicting some gruesome, frightening images that stay with readers.
With issue #15, Coffin Hill remains a challenging comic for readers. But it is worthy challenge, and the creative team is taking steps to help readers keep track of the complex narrative.
Despite the challenges, just like a lot of the comic’s supporting cast, I just can’t quit Eve Coffin.