Review: Crawl To Me (Graphic Novel)

As horror fans, I honestly believe that we are so desensitized to graphic and horrific subject matter that we often forget that there truly exist unspeakable horrors in the world. There are the real monsters that hide in our closets, that make it unsafe to walk home at night alone, that make us fear for those we love. These horrors, the rapists, the murderers, the pedophiles, the one’s that effect people every day, are the subject of Alan Robert’s Crawl To Me. Robert uses such unspeakable horrors to show that if we really want to be terrified, we need only to look around us. With no scarcity of violence, gore, perversion, this is a book that will seriously get under your skin. The intense and quick pacing combined with stunning visuals, and an ending that will leave your jaw on the floor, Crawl To Me is one great indie mini-series of 2011. Read on for the skinny…

Crawltomecover WRITTEN BY: Alan Robert
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Alan Robert
PUBLISHER: IDW
RELEASE: January

The plot is not entirely novel at first, it follows the struggling young couple, Ryan, Jess, and their newborn, as they move into a new home. As you may have guessed, not all is as it seems. The visuals work wonders to pull you in from the very beginning, as Ryan stands outside in the snow and the police pull up quickly to arrest his perverted, maniacal, neighbor. Soon after, Ryan discovers an unnerving crawl space in his basement that is home of some heinous life force that is as mysterious as it is horrific. This is where the story really takes off as an original and disturbing tale of madness. These seemingly disconnected events become increasingly important as the story develops, and dread seems to be lurking around every corner for Ryan and his family.

Each issue the family encounters snowballing amounts of dismay, disgust, and outright insane events that would make anyone feel like they were losing their mind. From the swarm of flesh-hungry rats, to the pair of possessed scissor that tell Jess to kill her baby, there are several moments that will make you want to take a nice, long, shower. Each scene of terror is brought to light through the brilliant artwork. Robert’s style of inked drawings with vibrant Photoshopped layers brings the book an incredible amount of depth. The reds, yellows, blues, and whites just fly off the page with eerie elegance, contrasting with the otherwise blackness of the panels.

Crawltome2

Robert manages to find a balance between not knowing whether the characters are insane, suffering from illness, or if this stuff is actually happening in some sort of surreal world. And it remains a mystery until the final issue, which will leave you with eyes wide open and a gaping maw. Robert effectively communicates the suffering mental state of the characters through his gorgeous artwork that brings what Ryan is feeling right onto the page. The crazy colors, the sketchy lines, and the smooth textures clash to make Crawl to Me beautifully haunting and unnerving book.

The pacing is quick and relentless from the very first page and it doesn’t let up at all. I actually believe that Crawl to Me is best read in trade form because it presents the full effect of the story without having to wait between installments. Sometimes the dialogue runs along the line of being cheesy and “not real enough”. When Ryan talks to himself it loses a bit of its flow, but I suspect that Robert will work out the kinks in time. On the other hand, the story itself is a prime example of a well-structured narrative where every single event, every little detail maintains meaning in the end. The concluding chapter is both extremely disturbing and shocking, showing the real emotional damage the sick people in our world can do. When you reach the big twist, you come to realize that the most terrifying things are not those we see in movies or books but rather the most terrifying are those people closest to us.

Robert is able to awaken horror fans from their long, slumbering numbness and call attention to the real horrors that exist around us. Once you reach the end, you’ll immediately want to revisit Crawl to Me, which is really where the value lies. Any book that is so stunning that it warrants a reexamining is worth a purchase in my books.

4/5 skulls