There are a fair share of supernatural investigation reality shows right now, most notably so is SyFy’s Ghost Hunters. As we well know, reality shows have, unfortunately, become the butthole of television. Everyone’s seen at least one, they’re never classy, and sometimes they’re full of shit. However, Steve Seeley and Michael Moreci, have taken up paranormal reality television and turned it on its head to deliver an incredible series debut of Hoax Hunters. The creative team deliberately addresses the cheesiness of reality TV, simultaneously offering a weird and intelligent plotline, all while never taking their tongues out of their cheeks. This is a strong first issue that shows plenty of potential, leaving a lot of room for future episodes. Read on for the skinny…
This 0 issue is actually a collection of the backup stories that appeared in Hack/Slash over the last year, but seeing it together in a single issue does a lot for the reading experience. The story follows the Hoax Hunters, a crew of paranormal investigators as they discover that an astronaut from the 1960s has suddenly reappeared in Russia. Yeah, it’s weird but I am a sucker for anything to do with outer space or astronaut conspiracy theories, so I was sold right off the bat. The plot gets quite eerie at some points, mostly due to the murder of crows that follows the astronaut wherever he goes. Mixing in elements from many different genres, this book has something for everyone.
The pages at the beginning and end that take place within the Hoax Hunter reality TV series are wonderfully contrasted with the real plotline that occurs when the cameras stop rolling throughout the rest of the book. By going behind the camera, it not only gives the reader more information but it also points out how unlike reality these so called “reality” shows can be. The comic thus works on equal levels as a social commentary on modern entertainment and as a well-crafted paranormal investigation story. The idea of using a TV show to frame the narrative of a comic is quite brilliant, and I’m not sure why it hasn’t been done before.
In just one issue, Seeley and Moreci are able to offer an in-depth look into their world. Thinking about the plot now, there is so much I want to write and so much analysis I could get into but I’ll spare you from having to listen to my half-thought out rants about social structures and the current state of American entertainment. Suffice it to say that the best part about this series is that by cutting the camera from the main plotline, it allows the characters to act as real people, rather than acting as they would on television. That is to say, not stupidly.
It’s often difficult in comics to begin a series with a long list of characters, who are all of equal importance. In Hoax Hunters, there are several central characters, and the team does a great job of introducing them to the reader. The three main characters are archetypal heroes that you would expect from books in this vein. This not only works with the whole reality show idea, but it allows the reader to relate to them. The characters are so intriguing at first glance that the book leaves a lot left to be desired, in the best possible way. I want to know what mysterious powers Regan has, I want to know more about this spaceman, and I want to see them operating as a team on longer story arcs. As any good writer should, Seeley and Moreci give each character something unique, which will draw you back in for subsequent issues.
The spaceman mystery is a great launching point. JM Ringuiet’s artwork was a stellar fit for this book (even though a change may be happening as the series continues). The spaceman and his crows are splendidly spooky, and the cartoony style combined with the wide pallet of colors is largely responsible for the atmosphere of the book. The final few pages that focus on the astronaut are gorgeous, and lead perfectly up to the shocker in the final panel. Artwork and script mesh together well, and I have a feeling it will only get better as they continue their Hoax Hunters run.
Simply due to the fact that there are so many hoaxes and legends out there, this series has almost unlimited potential. I’d love to see the Hoax Hunters crew go from Sasquatch myths to alien conspiracy theories to the Loch Ness legends. Not unlike Image’s Proof series a few years back, Hoax Hunters has the potential to be a really thrilling and, more importantly, entertaining series (unlike Ghost Hunters). While the world is not yet developed fully, it seems that these guys have a lot in their minds that they are just waiting to spill out on to the page for us.
Hoax Hunters #0 is a very strong start to what could be a great series. The creators leave a lot of questions unanswered and a lot of doors wide open, which left me craving more of the Hoax Hunter team. It’s hard to tell exactly what the team has planned after this issue; the series could move toward a BPRD style, or it could move the complete opposite direction and take on a Hack/Slash approach, thus destroying all those ridiculous reality shows. Comparison’s aside, Hoax Hunters #0 is a strong story that has a lot going for it.