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Review: Joe Hill strikes graphic novel gold once again with ‘The Wraith’

Cover art for 'The Wraith'
Courtesy of: IDW Publishing

The Wraith

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Over the course of three novels (Heart-Shaped Box, Horns, NOS4A2) and a beloved comic series (Locke & Key), Joe Hill has proved himself a special author. Something in his work taps into his readers, making them fervent followers of whatever he cares to churn out. Most recently that has been a mini-series of comics that serve as a prequel to his 2013 novel, NOS4A2. The complete mini-series, (Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland #1-7) newly collected in one tome has been dubbed The Wraith, and will be released on Aug. 12.

In this series, Hill teams with artist Charles Paul Wilson III to bring his characters and the terrifying amusement park/nest of nightmares known as Christmasland to full-color illustrated life. Being that the series is a prequel, it is equally accessible to fans of NOS4A2, and those who have yet to turn its pages––perhaps even more so for the latter crowd who can enjoy the reveal of the who and what of Charlie Manx without the knowledge of what he is to get up to in later days.

The 172 pages fly by as quickly as Manx’s beloved 1938 Rolls Royce at top speed. At turns violent, horrifying and tragic, while also occasionally humorous and even a bit romantic, The Wraith is a feast that sustains with a heady combination of visuals and storytelling. Spanning decades, the course of the mini-series shows us Charlie Manx as a young lad and an aged terror, and that’s not to mention several points in-between that all combined show the evolution of a villain.

Fans of Hill, fans of horror, fans of graphic novels and fans of a well-crafted yarn alike will all find that they quite enjoy this chance to spend a little time in Christmasland.

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Title: The Wraith
Author: Joe Hill
Artist: Charles Paul Wilson III
Format: Hardcover
Length: 172 pages
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Release date: August 12, 2014
Language: English