Stranger Things Makes for Stranger Comics

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Stranger Things issue 1

Okay, this is not going to sit well with my readers, but I have never watched a single episode of STRANGER THINGS.

I know, I know. Me and some guy in Alaska without electricity, we're the only ones.

So I thought I could at least get a flavor of the show through this new comic book debut from Dark Horse, penned by Jody Houser and illustrated by Stefano Martino and Keith Champagne. And after having read it, I can at least admit that the story is properly titled: STRANGER THINGS than this I've not seen.

The story follows young Will Byers, who has gone missing from his hometown of Hawkins, Indiana. But he's still in Hawkins -- or rather a mirror version of it, in a dark place called the Upside Down, where he's all alone except for some monstrous creatures.

At the same time, we see Will Byers playing a Dungeons & Dragons like game with his two friends, and the storylines parallel and overlap, so that it's hard to tell if Will is lost and recalling these events, or if he's really playing the game and simultaneously exploring the dangerous alternate reality. It's really difficult to be sure at this point.

Martino's pencils are excellent, especially when considering the characters have to resemble real life actors. It's not cartoonish or distorted at all. And the colors from Lauren Affe are perfectly muted to give this story just the right emotional tone.

Perhaps if I were more familiar with the events of the television show, I'd be better prepared for the book. I can't say that the book is a gateway to the series for the uninitiated, but I expect that if you're already a fan of the show you'll likely get more enjoyment out of the book than will anyone going into it cold.

3.5 / 5.0