I don’t think I’ve ever been as frustrated by having not read something as I have been this
week. I started working at the shop about two years ago now and my first order of business was
to catch up on all the indie titles I haven’t read yet. Soon after Mike had said that Gideon Falls
was pretty good and that I should pick it up when I had the time because it was only in its first
couple issues. It has been almost exactly two years and I have finally read Gideon Falls, and I am
furious I did not read it sooner.
Gideon Falls is a modern suspense masterpiece held even higher in regard due to the
masterclass work of artist Andrea Sorrentino. Sorrentino is a seasoned artist at this point in the
game, having frequently collaborated with writer Jeff Lemire having collaborated on titles like
“Old Man Logan” and “Joker: Killer Smile” most recently. Lemire and Sorrentino work on the
same frequency because all of their work together is top tier for the comic book medium.
Gideon Falls follows two separate protagonists trying to unravel a mystery from two opposite
ends. One is the psychiatric patient Norton, obsessed with collecting and cataloguing seemingly
random pieces of trash. The other is Father Wilfred, a washed-up priest recently charged with
leading the church of a small town. Both men find themselves entangled with the mystery of
the Black Barn, a mysterious shack that hangs on the edge of human perception and lures its
chosen people to kill.
Lemire is known for his propensity to work a narrative around a small town or a single outsider,
which can be seen in his Dark Horse book “Black Hammer”. Lemire is also known for his work in
the mystery and suspense genre, having worked with similar tropes in books like “Essex
County”, “The Question”, and “Sweet Tooth”. Gideon Falls is I think the best example of his
mastery of the suspense and horror genre for comics. Lemire definitely understands the
obsession and paranoia that Norton suffers from due to his exposure to the Smiling Man and
the Black Barn, and Sorrentino works the page to highlight the childhood horror of the things
that lurk beyond the dark. Sorrentino additionally works with the panel layout of the book to
emphasize certain small moments or details that a character might notice, and even changes
the dimensions of the panels themselves to promote the idea that a character may be outside
the realm of regular perception. I think that some of Sorrentino’s best work comes out of this
book though due to the level of freedom the story provides.
Gideon Falls should be a book that every horror fan reads. I can’t remember the last time a
comic gave me a shiver down my spine like this did. I recommend Gideon Falls for any fans of
his previous works at Marvel or DC who haven’t branched out into the other publishers yet, but
I also recommend this for any horror fans looking for a book to get obsessed with.
Gideon Falls can be found in trade paperback and in single issues at Comic Spot.
The lives of a reclusive young man obsessed with a conspiracy in the city's trash, and a washed-up Catholic priest arriving in a small town full of dark secrets, become intertwined around the mysterious legend of The Black Barn, an otherworldly building that is alleged to have appeared in both the city and the small town, throughout history, bringing death and madness in its wake. Rural mystery and urban horror collide in this character-driven meditation on obsession, mental illness, and faith.