REVIEW: ‘Long Lost,’ Book #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Long Lost Book #1

Long Lost has been making the rounds on comics social media sites as one of the most recommended horror series currently running. Created by married couple Matthew Erman and Lisa SterleLong Lost Book #1 is one of the most engaging books of 2018, and I’m excited about the upcoming issue this month.

The story starts off simply; Piper is a solitary young woman with a past she’d give anything to forget. Piper has decided she needs to find a way to move on from her past and attempt to live her life peacefully with her cute little puppy named Pockets despite her heart that is haunted by vaguely hinted at traumas. It’s been fifteen years since she’d seen her mother, and in her opinion, it was for the better. Despite how miserable she was living with her aunt and little sister, Frances, in Hazel Patch, the devil you know is often better than the one you don’t.

However, when Frances shows up, desperate to get a hold of the sister who’s isolated herself, and a creature from another world makes off with Pockets, Piper is forced to return to the town she ran from and the memories she’d been trying to bury ever since. The two sisters are as different as the day and the night, but it doesn’t take long for them to realize that their mother’s unexplained disappearance from the asylum that’d been her home for a very long time and the strange creature from Piper’s home are related. There’s also a matter of the terrifying encounter they had on the edge of the woods, the flashbacks to a forgotten time and the odd state of the townsfolk…

Something isn’t quite right in Hazel Patch, and the estranged sisters are right in the middle of it.

The story-telling in Long Lost Book #1 is second-to-none. Book One contains the first six chapters of Long Lost and it’s a thrilling ride from stage one. The entire work, as a whole, has a subtle air of horror. I prefer books of quiet terror, where the subtleties and nuances do most of the talking and that’s definitely the case with Long Lost. Even though there are several scenes with big-scale confrontations and action, it’s the consistent dread and unraveling of their lives that set the stage for Piper and Frances.

Matthew Erman has an uncanny ability to wax poetic in the most simple of ways. Without a lot of frills and complicated dialogue, Erman has created a universe in which the emotions of the characters leap off of the page and into your face. It was with bated breath and a racing heart that I followed the sisters to Hazel Patch, and dread that filled me as they ventured into the woods. It’s easy to experience and empathize with the anger in Piper and the cheeriness Frances has that appears to be a forced front in order to drown out the past.

I’m a sucker for animals, as well, so Pockets’ disappearance was nearly my undoing.

I found the plot easy to follow, and although it was a bit frustrating to have to infer what, exactly, the trauma they endured at their mother’s hands was, I’m confident that the reveal will be satisfying. Erman was beautiful world-building skills, and Long Lost unfolded on the page in a wonderfully horrific sequence. Paired with the gothic style of Sterle, it’s no wonder Long Lost comes so highly recommended.

Sterle works mostly in black and white color schemes, though some chapters had heavier influences of sepia or gray tones. There’s a lot of reliance on shadowing to add details and depth to the creatively laid out panels, and it’s masterfully done. I love the design of the different characters, the very cartoonish features that are somehow pulled together in a semblance of realism that is directly at odds with the fantastical events of Long Lost. It was amazing to see the amount of detail done with so few colors and multiple shades and it’s definitely a testament to Sterle’s skills as an artist.

And if Erman can write a character into existence, Sterle breathes life into them by way of illustrations. This team is a cohesive unit that works off of one another in ways not too many pairings have. The communication and trust between them are evident, and it’s brought Long Lost to another level of spectacular.

Long Lost Book #1 is a tale of horror and other worlds, but it’s also much more than that. At its center, Long Lost is about family, redemption, truth and letting go of the past. An emotionally resonating story wrapped in a creepy package, Long Lost is multifaceted and has the ability to appeal to readers on several psychological levels. We love to be scared, but we also tend to shy away from home truths we may find uncomfortable. Long Lost holds a mirror to our faces and lets us see ourselves in two sisters who have been in pain for far too long and the journey they’ll have to take in order to make their lives make sense again.


Long Lost Book #1
5

TL;DR

Long Lost Book #1 is a tale of horror and other worlds, but it’s also much more than that. At its center, Long Lost is about family, redemption, truth and letting go of the past. An emotionally resonating story wrapped in a creepy package, Long Lost is multifaceted and has the ability to appeal to readers on several psychological levels. We love to be scared, but we also tend to shy away from home truths we may find uncomfortable. Long Lost holds a mirror to our faces and lets us see ourselves in two sisters who have been in pain for far too long and the journey they’ll have to take in order to make their lives make sense again.