REVIEW: ‘Home Sick Pilots,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Home Sick Pilots

Home Sick Pilots #1 is written by Dan Watters, illustrated and colored by Caspar Wijngaard, lettered by Aditya Bidikar, and designed by Tom Mueller. It is published by Image Comics. In the summer of 1994, the punk band known as the Home Sick Pilots decide to stage a gig at the Old James House, which has been rumored to be haunted. Lead singer Ami visits the house, only to be swept up in a world of magic and madness.

This series was described by its creators as “Power Rangers meets The Shining” and that’s evident from the first page. Wijngaard draws the James house slowly rising up from its foundation, with wood and steel reforming to make a human body. Inside, Ami hovers in a suit that is pure white, with a serene expression on her face. It’s an image that’s equally terrifying and spellbinding and is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Wijngaard’s artistic abilities. Pink, blue, and purple are the most prominent colors in his work, which adds to the supernatural vibe of the book.

Mueller also helps sell the supernatural angle with his designs. During a sequence where Ami’s bandmates Buzz and Rip go to the Old James house to find her, the scene shifts to a cross-section of the house and showcases their journey throughout the floors. In a similar vein, Mueller shifts the panels sideways when a fight between the Pilots and a rival band takes a horrifying turn. This makes the reader feel like they’re in an actual horror movie, with their perspective being flipped upside down.

Under Wijngaard’s pens and colors and Watters’s scripting, Home Sick Pilots perfectly captures the early 90’s aesthetic. The clothing and the music feel perfectly in-line with the era that saw the rise of bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Adding to the Power Rangers vibes, the Pilots are definitely teenagers with attitude-emphasis on the “attitude.” They smoke pot, trash talk other bands, and get into fights. Yet there’s a genuine reason for their behavior, especially where Ami is concerned. She lost her mother at a young age, and it’s implied that she may have had a hand in the events. Given the pain of her past, it makes sense why she would be drawn to a potentially haunted house-and why she has a connection to it. Watters and Wijngaard perfectly capture this with an inner monologue Ami has with herself, which ends in the most heartbreaking sentence: “And who’d f***ing care if I vanished?” The answer, it turns out, is her friends.

Rounding out the artistic team is Bidikar on letters. Bidikar takes a unique approach to their lettering, opting to leave words hanging next to characters’ heads instead of using word bubbles. Several pages in the issue are merely black with white text, which Bidikar arranges as slowly cascading downwards. In fitting with that spiraling feeling, said pages often end with a revelatory piece of text.

Home Sick Pilots#1 is equal parts horrifying and heartfelt, setting up an insanely innovative haunted house story. If you are a self-proclaimed 90’s kid, a horror nut, or an anime fan I highly recommend checking out this comic.

Home Sick Pilots #1 is available now wherever comics are sold. 

 


Home Sick Pilots #1
5

TL;DR

Home Sick Pilots#1 is equal parts horrifying and heartfelt, setting up an insanely innovative haunted house story. If you are a self-proclaimed 90’s kid, a horror nut, or an anime fan I highly recommend checking out this comic.