New To You Comics: ‘Winnebago Graveyard TP’ By Steve Niles And Alison Sampson

by Brendan M. Allen


With new comics on hold for the foreseeable future, my colleague Tony Thornley and I decided to dive deep into our longboxes and collections to bring you a new Comicon feature we’re calling New To You Comics.
Tony and I have very different tastes in comics. He tends to drift toward the superhero and sci-fi genres, and I pretty much stick to horror, noir, and thrillers. Sometimes our paths cross, but we, like most readers, tend to stay in our lanes.
The challenge here is for me to introduce Tony to some titles he probably missed on first pass, and for Tony to hit me with some of the stuff he really likes that I haven’t read. All of the titles we will discuss will be brand new to one of us, and all are available on digital platforms. You should be able to access them even if your local shop is temporarily closed or out of stock.

I gave Tony a little break from the horror with my last pick. Sorry, Tony (not really sorry), but the break’s over. In this installment, we’ll be ruminating on Steve Niles and Alison Sampson’s macabre masterpiece, Winnebago Graveyard, published by Image Comics.
Here’s what Image says about the book:
An American family’s vacation turns into a nightmare when they stop in a small California town. Before they know what’s happening, they’ve become the targets of the town’s citizens who just happen to be Satanists. What comes next is a wild ride of terror and survival.

Brendan Allen: I know whenever anyone mentions Steve Niles, there’s ANOTHER horror book that immediately comes to mind. Something about vampires in Alaska? Yup. That’s the one. With Winnebago Graveyard, Niles and Alison Sampson take that same theme of disconnect, of looking for help where there is none to be found, and apply it to a very modern family, on a road trip that will change (or end) their lives forever.  
How you doing over there, Tone?
Tony Thornley: Dammit, B.
I had actually previously read the first issue and enjoyed it (it was only the first or second series I’ve ever had a pull quote on the trade!), but I unfortunately missed the rest of it. It freaked me out then and it freaked me out now. This was a great little Satanic panic horror story.
Niles really knows horror at this point in his career and this is so different from 30 Days of Night. It’s lean, it mostly takes place over a single night, there’s a complex world here, but he spends little time telling us about it. I’m a little disappointed it wasn’t a bit longer for the sake of world building, but really, I… appreciated it? Is that the best word? (laughs nervously)
Brendan: I actually think this is a case where less is more. I like Winnebago Graveyard as a stand alone. I feel like spending too much time in this little microcosm would destroy the mystery. Think Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day. Dead brilliant worldbuilding, awesome mysterious characters in the first film, completely ruined by hanging around too long in the MacManus brothers’ world. I still think about that turd every time I watch the good one.

Brendan: This was my very first exposure to Alison Sampson’s art and I fell in love with it. There’s a very cinematic feel that leans into the grindhouse cinema genre. Her scratchy linework is unsettlingly visceral. It’s really easy to empathize with the characters, because they look, move, and act like real people.
Of course, the best lines in the world don’t pop without the right colorist and Stephane Paitreau lends an amazing palette to cap Sampson’s brilliant linework. Flames, blood spatter, and moving light sources are all notoriously difficult to hit, and there are tons of all three in this book. I think Paitreau nails the mood, brilliantly tying the script to the art and heightening the sense of impending doom. 
Tony: Oh yeah, the art was totally killer all the way around. Sampson’s line work was slightly abstract and extremely good at capturing the desperation that Dan and family felt. I really liked her design work. The characters were all different. She made a point of varying body type, age, height. This isn’t like most comics where everyone is the same. 
And Paitreau uses color so effectively. The colors are so cold, until there’s a shocker moment, then you get a splash of violent red.

Brendan: You said you… appreciated the book. Those who don’t know you won’t realize that’s high praise for an unapologetic grindhouse horror book like Winnebago Graveyard
Tony: Yeah, I don’t know if I can use the word “like” but it was something that was not just worth checking out, but going back and revisiting. I feel like there’s details that I’ll pick up on re-reads. Totally worth it!
Brendan: I’ll take it. What’s up next?
Tony: I keep throwing out superhero books, but I haven’t actually done anything featuring my two favorite characters. So we’re going to hit our first DC title next week, Superman Rebirth V1: Son of Superman. It’s one of my favorites and I think you’re going to dig it!

Winnebago Graveyard TP, Image Comics, 22 November 2017. Script by Steve Niles, art and design by Alison Sampson, color by Stephane Paitreau, letters by Aditya Bidikar.
We’d like to ask, on behalf of our friends and colleagues that own and are employed by comic shops, that you first try to get these books at your local shop. This is a very uncertain time for owners, employees, and their families. Show some love for your community and friends by buying from your regular shop when possible and safe.
If your local comic store is temporarily closed, not offering safe curbside pick up or mail order, or is out of stock on this title, you can find a digital copy for $12.49 at Comixology right here. Midtown Comics has physical copies available for $14.44 here. Amazon has the book for $13 with Prime shipping here

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