Sunday, December 6, 2020

REVIEW: Home Sick Pilots #1

I’ve said this before, but I don’t like horror. It doesn’t “scare” me or anything, I just don’t get the appeal. But when I heard there was a new series about punk rock kids in the 90s piloting haunted houses like Megazords, I knew this was a horror title I definitely had to check out.

Disclaimer: I received an advance copies of Home Sick Pilots #1 courtesy of Image Comics.
Opinions are my own.

In the summer of 1994, a haunted house walks across California. Inside is Ami, lead singer of a high school punk band—who’s been missing for weeks. How did she get there, and what do these ghosts want? Expect three-chord songs and big bloody action that’s Power Rangers meets The Shining (yes, really).

Home Sick Pilots is written by Dan Watters (Lucifer, COFFIN BOUND) with artwork by Caspar Wijngaard (Star Wars, Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt) and features lettering by Aditya Bidikar (Isola, Little Bird), and design work by Tom Muller.

The premiere issue of Home Sick Pilots follows the titular band as they attend a show by the shitty “”Nuclear Bastards” in an abandoned bowling alley. That’s the most 90s sentence I’ve written in a while. After the show gets shut down by the cops, Pilot member Ami suggests they show-up the Bastards by playing a show in an old house up on a hill.

Pilots Buzz and Rip are against the idea because - surprise! - the house is haunted. Apparently some kid got captivated, possessed even, by the house and nearly starved to death just walking around for weeks. The disagreement causes Ami to enter the house on her own and promptly goes missing. The boys check the house for any sign of Ami and find the Nuclear Bastards instead. Horror ensues. 

While this issue lacks the hypeable haunted house mecha fighting, it does set a beautiful stage for things to come. For a horror series, the dialogue is actually hilarious. I found myself laughing during some of the bloodiest moments. This gave me fake nostalgia for being a teenager in the 90s.

The artwork is fantastic, especially the color palette. Everything is painted in bisexual blue, pink, and purple even for scenes set during the daytime or inside. Character designs - especially fashion - really capture that 90s punk rock aesthetic. 

This book is also incredibly well designed and laid-out. There’s a fantastic two-page spread. The lettering and effects give some really great energy. Also: they do that manga thing where the gutters are black during a flashback! I wish more western comics would do that!

Home Sick Pilots is a love letter to the punk rock 90s, makes horror fun, and promises some action-packed battles between walking haunted houses all while looking damn pretty. The first issue hits your local comic shop this Wednesday, but you can click here to pre-order the complete first volume.