ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Happy Hill,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Happy Hill #1

Happy Hill #1 is published by Comix Tribe, written by Joe Mulvey and Rich Douek, with art by Joe Mulvey, colors by Christopher Sotomayer, and letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. Happy Hill is the home of Hill Manor, a luxury resort that promises its guest will leave completely happy. But there are legends of something sinister haunting the lands around Happy Hill—talk of the Wudsman lurking about. But that’s just superstition, right?

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. So a solid first impression is more critical than ever for media today. With so many options competing for an audience’s time and money, getting a story off on a strong foot is critical. The creative team of Happy Hill #1 seems well aware of this as it admirably sets its narrative hook in deep.

Our story opens with a brief sojourn into the past as we get a glimpse of the terror that stalks Happy Hill. This opening delivers exactly what it needs to. It establishes the fearsomeness of its monster while not giving the reader anything too concrete about its nature—just a taste of things to come.

After this opening, Happy Hill #1 jumps to the present as it introduces us to the threads of narrative in the present day that our story will focus on. We see a mother dropping off her daughter with her husband—who she has recently divorced—at Hill Manor. We also see a journalist and his friend checking into the same manor in the hopes of discovering the truth of the Wudsman legend.

Writers Mulvey and Douek instantly begin fleshing out these characters with entertaining and memorable personalities. The way the various characters interact flows fluidly throughout the book. This strength of personality is crucially important for Happy Hill #1 to land well. The broad roles the characters occupy are instantly familiar to fans of horror and could easily be filled with personalities that could come across as far more familiar, and hence, less noticeable.

The art in this introductory chapter does a great job delivering on not only the book’s more terrifying moments but also on its levity as well. Artist Mulvey doesn’t shy away from leaning into the emotions and personalities of the characters contained in this story. Mulvey takes full advantage of the over-the-top nature comic fans are accustomed to as every character moment is ratcheted up to eleven on the expression scale.

The colors throughout the book go a long way with helping reinforce the energy of each scene within it. Colorist Sotomayor utilizes some great lighting to help each moment of the book deliver its full effect.

All this energy and emotion are further amplified in Otsmane-Elhaou’s lettering. Both the font design, as well as the bubbles that contain them, are crafted in such a way as to further amplify the volume of what transpires within the pages of the book.

When all is said and done, Happy Hill #1 gets its story off to a strong start. While checking all the boxes that need to be checked for the first steps of a horror story, the book goes a step further by filling these pages with characters whose energy and personality help them stand out.

Happy Hill #1 is available this January.


Happy Hill #1
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TL;DR

Happy Hill #1 gets its story off to a strong start. While checking all the boxes that need to be checked for the first steps of a horror story, the book goes a step further by filling these pages with characters whose energy and personality help them stand out.