Eldritch #1


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Eldritch #1


  • Words: Aaron Alexovich
  • Art: Drew Rausch
  • Story Title: The Squirm & The Knife
  • Publisher: HeartshapedSkull.com
  • Release Date: Aug 3, 2011

“We begin, as all good stories do, with Charles Darwin traveling through time in a bathysphere…”

Oh, you have to keep reading after that kind of set up.

And so begins the eccentric, fast paced, wholly original amusement ride that is Eldritch #1. Frantically written by Aaron Alexovich as though these characters and this story has to be exorcised from his pen. Quickly we are introduced to Anya and her brother Owen. Anya is a college student with purple hair, a Jack of all Trades, and a master of none, tattooing every new “passion” of hers on her arm. At this point, the body art is a mosaic of general interests. Her younger brother, Owen, is in the midst of a change himself, but not the kind one would think. 

Wanting to show his nonplussed sister a magic trick, Owen proceeds to chop off his finger with a butcher knife. The severed digit vaporizes and a new one forms in its place. After repeating the trick over and over again, at her request, Owen becomes agitated and lobs off his whole hand. What happens next is hard to explain as a giant, black mass of tentacles oozes from his stump and wreaks havoc around the room (I just explained it, I suppose). The tentacles attack Anya and ascend to the ceiling. She grabs the knife and hacks at the connection between Owen and the black mass.  “Who did this to you?!” she screams at him. Who, indeed?

The only possible culprit(s) lie in the Newbarn residence. What transpires beyond the beautiful chaos that is the opening scene doesn’t offer much in the form of resolution, but does maintain a pace of progression that’s astonishing.  Alexovich’s characters are depicted like caricatures of stereotypes in a heightened reality, but it all works so well. No doubt the wonderfully kinetic art chores by Drew Rausch keep this established tone from teetering off the edge. His characters are flawless, giving detail and weight to typically “cartoony” designs. You can feel the limp mass that Owen becomes as he’s dragged upwards by the tentacles. Even the beads of sweat dripping down Mr. Newbarn’s face as he stumbles for excuses look salty.

There’s a subtext hidden within that’s very apparent during the opening scene. These are two siblings who believe in different things and attack one another with those steadfast beliefs -- Owen so intent on showing his pompous sister a “magic trick” she can’t figure out and Anya so determined to tell Owen that she knows where everything comes from. They are completely sure in their mindsets and to some degree, ignorantly so. It provides a grounded source of conflict amongst the surreal and magical elements that permeate the book. It’s refreshing and welcome when reading a story that can take you anywhere.The readers’ baseline is set allowing the ability to enjoy the oncoming anarchy without being jostled too harshly.

Eldritch #1 is currently available in digital form on multiple platforms. Eldritch is filled with love, care, originality, and a story of sibling rivalry that even beasts summoned by occult magic cannot penetrate. It’s definitely worth the penny. I mean, who doesn’t want to know how he did that magic trick?

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