Why You Should Be Reading… THE DIG… IDW’s Wraith Welcome To Christmas Land

Hey everyone I hope all is well… I just want to say Condolences to the people in Charleston, South Carolina…

Welcome back folks… Grainbelt is here for another installment of… WHY YOU SHOULD BE READING…

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So I decided to do something different this time around and begin something that would be happening from time to time in the future. Truth be told I’m a digger, a HUGE digger. I love searching and scouring the earth for vinyl, comics, and old vintage gear. Of course this is only the tip of the ice berg, but those are the main things I search for. Now for this week I set a few boundaries, I could only pick something to talk about by searching in back catalog bins, bargain bins, thrift shops, second hand stores that kind of thing. Sometimes you find the best hidden gems that would have escaped you otherwise by taking the time to dig. Also when combing through stacks of comics, you tend to take more chances, it’s also a more satisfying feeling when you find things in bulk allowing you the opportunity to get a good feel for the series in hand.

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My pursuit for a spot to un earth a good comic brought me to the half priced books not too far from my house. I go there in shifts, one days ill hit the record section, the next time ill hit up only the comics section. Sitting down I went through every single comic in inventory and got some pretty cool stuff, the one that stuck out the most was definitely The Wraith. The first 4 issues stared back at me with a really intense feel, I remember thinking how intimidating the covers looked and it told the story of something very dark. I thumbed through the first few pages making my judgements, and decided to take the chance, placing them in my pile I continued my search, yet The Wraith’s images stayed prevalent in my mind.

The Wraith is dark people, I expected it to take me places but I never expected the writer to toy with storyscapes in the fashion he did. But Before I get into the comic let’s explore some of the history. Wraith is a prequel to the book NOS4A2 which was also written by Joe Hill, Mr. Hill takes a stab at explaining a back story for one of the main character from his book Charlie Manx. Manx in the original book plays a pivotal role in driving the plot, as well as making his presence known, the character does so well Hill decided on toying with his past, every rememberable character has a history, and imbedded in that history is a catalyst.

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This brings us to Wraith, the setting is the late 80’s, where we are thrown into this world and find our selves traveling with an eerie looking man. The first panels show us a little girl is at the mercy of Charlie Manx. He has seemingly kidnapped her from a bad situation and has plans on taking her to a magical place, the odd vibes of the issue kept me intrigued but the dialog really set issue 1 apart. Issue 1 is mostly all dialog but as a fan of villainous writing I was completely intrigued by the whole showcase. Through out this issue we are taunted by a place known as Christmas land, it is where there is happiness all the time, and all your wildest dreams can come true. It is easy to make all your dreams come true in this imaginary place and in between selling Christmas land to the little girl, we are given a complete back story on the childhood history of Manx himself. He stretches this well into adult hood and into becoming a family man, and how his life changed while wanting to take his family to the adoring place. During the tales of his life we get a back seat ride as he continues engaging with his captor helplessly riding in the back, and you get the sense of feeling the emotion of fear as you ride along. I just couldn’t shake how some of the dialog came across as bone chilling, it really takes you on a ride of its own causing you to almost feel as though you are traveling in a dream world.

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By issue 2 the action picks up and everything starts tying together, we get a cast of new characters and things start rolling in the right direction. Our hero of sorts ends up being a man forced to do what he needed to and it ended up getting him locked up. We flash between his past experiences and the harsh reality that he is sharing transport with a murderer and a child Molester. We also get some solid interactions between the prisoners and the guards detailed in keeping them at bay. During this travel we get a deeper idea as to why everyone is locked up and what everyone knows. Things become very odd when one of the prisoners seems to know way more about one of the guards then he should, causing this to spark a chain of events leading us into a whole new direction for all characters involved. Once the dust settles our prisoners are on the lose, we begin seeing that the teacher has a seemingly deep conscious while the other men are viciously only out for self, and now that freedom seems to be an option we get a greater understanding of each prisoners character. Following a change in power the newly free men decide on continuing the chance of freedom and one of them decides to call in a favor for help, this act marks the return of Charlie Manx and everything is starting to make more sense.

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For our characters Christmas Land becomes the main destination and we are now introduced to more history into Manx’s ties to the grounds they are traveling too, it seems Manx is a kidnapper that has somehow combined the complex that he is taking the children to a better place. Once we get a feel for this more tension builds as you can’t help but wonder what is this weird place simply known as Christmas Land, and how will everyone fair in the process. Taking this ride we see hallucinations and more compelling writing continuing the readers edge and suspense, and when we final get the pay off words cannot describe how strange everything gets.

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If you are into a dark and boarder line evil storyline, this is something you should certainly read, I can honestly say some of the content is a bit disturbing but its something you cannot turn away from, I couldn’t believe how well the writing fit the scene and I find myself extremely interested in finding Joe Hill’s books. Expect a read that will shake up your psyche and give you a truth sense of fear as you wonder just exactly where the writer is going with this. Putting everything in perspective I find it very fitting to start here and work your way to the book. Charlie Manx is an interesting specimen and examining his character is entertainment in its own.

Well everyone I hope you enjoyed this weeks why you should be reading, Next week we will be back to normal and plan on an awesome review! Thank You!!

– Grainbelt Jones

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