The Cape Fallen
Created by Joe Hill & Jason Ciaramella
Script by, Jason Ciaramella
Art by, Zach Howard
Colors by, Nelson Daniel
Letters by, Shawn Lee
Reviewed by, Tom Zimm
The Cape Fallen is a comic based on the short story by Joe Hill. It was originally adapted into a graphic novel in 2011. This iteration is a continuation and a flushing out of the original short story. The book begins with the main character, Eric, now in his twenties, revisiting the cabin his father took him and his brother to visit years previously. The story flashes back to that previous visit, reintroducing the reader to his brother Nicky and the blue blanket Eric wears like a cape. The story transitions back to the present showing Eric meeting a group of gamers who have met at the cabin, now a lodge, to participate in a role-playing game. Eric’s introduction to this group is a part deja-vu part mystery as he struggles to adjust to an old place and somewhat new people.
The story creates suspense and is paced well as it moves through the past and present seamlessly. Although I hadn’t read the initial comic book series, I was able to quickly relate to Eric, who is provocative and angry while also confused. The supporting characters are introduced in a way that creates context and depth. For example, when Eric returns to the lodge as an adult he meets Josh who he also knew as a kid and who used to tease him as a child.
In addition, the mystical themes of the short story are nicely hinted at in the comic but are not force-fed to the reader. For example, in the short story, Eric’s dad dies in Vietnam and his belongings, including a blue blanket and a POW patch, are mailed home. His mother sewed a red lightning bolt and his father’s POW patch to the blanket, which Eric wears everywhere. One day while playing and fighting with his brother, Eric discovers that he can fly while wearing the blanket, which is described with some grizzly details. The love-hate relationship between Eric and Nicky is hinted at in the comic when Eric encounters Josh who comments on Nicky’s attendance in medical school. Eric’s annoyance at the reference is shown on his face, which leaves the outcome cryptic and raises the interest of the reader.
The writer utilizes timing as well as beautiful art to move the story and pique interest. We learn about Eric’s past, his previous struggles, which helps us understand his mean behavior in the present. In addition, the art is rustic, rough, blunt, expressive and cultivates the feeling of suspense and unknown created by the story. This issue feels like a filling in and an extension of the short story and a must read. I highly recommend this book.
Story = 9
Art = 8.5
Overall = 8.75