REVIEW: ‘Ithaqa,’ Issues #1 and #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Ithqa

Ithaqa is a self-published comic written by Michael Watson, illustrated by Theresa Chiechi, lettered by Lucas Gattoni, and edited by Lisa Villamil. The first two issues were successfully funded via Kickstarter. During the Prohibition era, filmmaker Mookie Smitts attempts to con a man who believes the property he owns is haunted. However, Smitts and his female companions slowly uncover a plot to destroy time itself.

Much like Dark Horse’s Machine Gun Wizardsthe first two issues of Ithaqa mix real-world events with mystical occurrences- in this case, the mythos of H.P. Lovecraft. A sinister cult, characters being driven to madness, and the ever-looming presence of cosmic forces; it’s all from the Lovecraftian playbook. The book also plays with time,  leaping between the present day and the events leading up to it.

What really stands out about the book is its mixture of humor and horror. Watson’s script is laced with genuinely funny bits, especially where Smitts is concerned. Smitts is a blatant con man and womanizer, thinking he can win anyone over with flattery (or the occasional silver-tongued remark. Even more hilarious than his obvious schmoozing are people’s reactions to his schmoozing.

Watson also peppers both issues with intriguing characters; particularly Smitts’ companions Hazel, Ruth, and Margaret. Hazel truly believes in the supernatural, while Ruth is fairly pragmatic. It’s Margaret that is the standout; she doesn’t take anyone’s crap and is doggedly determined to solve the case. A side plot focuses on a soldier named Harvey who crossed paths with the cult that is threatening to destroy time; this feels like the weakest part of the book so far, as it hasn’t really had an effect on the main plot yet.

Ithqa

Chiechi puts her own stamp on the book with her artwork and colors. Each character is visually distinct; Smitts is clean-shaven and dressed to the nines, while Harvey stands out due to his rumpled uniform and 5-o-clock shadow. The clothing is also appropriate to the era, down to the ladies’ dresses and the automobiles. The coloring helps set the mood perfectly. Several scenes either take place at night or in the haunted mansion, with a foreboding reddish hue washing over characters and environments. This leads to an unsettling scene where Hazel and Margaret fall into a pile of skeletons. Though it’s dark, you can see the fear on their faces; a rat in the background looks like it crawled out of the depths of hell.

Rounding out the creative team is Gattoni on letters. He has a neat visual way of depicting the cultists’ magic; their spells lie in black twisted word balloons with white letters. The fact that they are uttering actual words from Lovecraftian myths is the icing on the cake.

The first two issues of Ithaqa expertly blend horror, humor, and mystery together for an intriguing read, bolstered by standout characterization. of Lovecraft’s stories or indie comics or both will definitely want to back the creative team via Kickstarter.

Ithaqa #1 and #2 are currently available for purchase through Comixology .  #1 is currently available in print; #2 and #3 will be available this October.


Ithaqa Issues 1 and 2
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TL;DR

The first two issues of Ithaqa expertly blend horror, humor, and mystery together for an intriguing read, bolstered by standout characterization. of Lovecraft’s stories or indie comics or both will definitely want to back the creative team via Kickstarter.