And Then Emily Was Gone is a surreal, grotesque, and disturbing horror comic written by John Lees, with art by Iain Laurie and colors by Megan Wilson and letters by Colin Bell. It is, in the words of one critic, “a spiral downwards into madness.” If you enjoy David Lynch movies, read this book.
And Then Emily Was Gone is a five issue series from 2014 put out by the small publisher ComixTribe. The initial print run of the trade paperback (which came out this year) was very small and sold out very quickly, so I didn’t manage to get my hands on one until this week. But boy was I glad I did. This book was so good it creeped me the hell out.
The basic story is this:
Greg Hellinger is a disgraced former detective. He quit because of the vivid hallucinations he keeps having day after day, night after night, of monsters everywhere he goes. He hasn’t had a good night’s sleep in five years.
Until a young girl named Fiona knocks on his door and asks for his help in finding her best friend Emily.
Fiona and Emily come from Merskay, one of the Orkney islands, and one day, Emily told Fiona that she wanted to run away from Merskay. She said that she thought she was being stalked by Bonnie Shaw, the bogeyman. “The story goes that Bonnie Shaw would visit parents in troubling times. He’d offer them a solution to their woes but at a price. In return, Bonnie Shaw wanted the parents to give him their child.” Fiona promises to run away with Emily, but Emily never shows up at their designated meeting place. And then Emily was gone. Everyone just assumes she ran away, but Fiona thinks something else happened. So together, Fiona and Greg Hellinger travel back to Merksay to figure out what happened and confront the horrific mysteries there.
John Lees writes good horror, but it’s Iain Laurie’s art that turns it up to eleven — every single person is drawn in an off-putting style, their features exaggerated or their faces shaded in disturbing ways.
Seriously, if you like horror or David Lynch movies, read this comic. You won’t regret it.