Writer, Artist & Letterer: Jeremy Haun
Cover Artists: Jeremy Haun & Brennan Wagner
Release Date: May 3, 2023
How many words does a writer need to induce fear? How many pictures must an artist use to provoke wonder or outrage? Let’s lock our doors, open Jeremy Haun’s Haunthology Vol. 1, and find out!
If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Haunthology Vol. 1 Review.
The Covid-19 pandemic hit us hard in so many ways. After publishers halted major projects, Jeremy Haun had time on his hands. Restless and needing to create, he appealed to his inner voice for solace. Over time, ideas came to him. Hastur came first, but there would be many more. He wrote and drew as they came, with no plan in place. He struggled to cope with what they all meant, eventually realizing that they represented the struggles and hardships that we all faced during the pandemic. In a way, we’re all still there, fighting to pull ourselves free and get on with our lives. Haunthology Vol. 1 includes twenty-eight entries in what Jeremy Haun calls his Haunverse. These vignettes and short stories capture his attempt to face the horrors of that time head-on. I’ve tried to group them by themes, but readers will doubtless find that the stories speak to them differently.
Sickness & Death
I enjoyed Haun’s poetic voice in Kingdom Of Dust And Bone. All The Stars reminds us of the awe our universe can invoke. Still In Here suggests a metaphor for zombie tales that had never occurred to me before. One Summer Night speaks to facing our fears. Are the dangers imagined or real?
Compulsion, Inspiration, & Creativity
In Sabbatical At The Elms, a horror writer travels to haunted locations to write and wishes he saw something that scared him. I loved this story of the writer’s process that tackles the age-old questions: “How do you get your ideas?” and “Where do they come from?” In The Day The Internet Died, a man finds that reading books brings more pleasure than scrolling through his social media feed: an all-too-important reminder of how we choose to relax amid our busy lives. Fever Dream in Haunthology Vol. 1 tackles a writer’s concern over his creativity: is it limitless or finite? To Finish tackles the compulsion to write and the battle against perfectionism.
A man hunting for supplies in The Private rejoices in finding working facilities. This story reminded me of John Wyndham’s novel The Day Of The Triffids. Haun’s story The Package asks: Did Stay At Home orders prompt consumerism and materialism? A Haunthology Silent Night reminds us how holidays define our lives, even when cut off from family and friends.
Order Versus Chaos
The story The Coin tackles how relationships diverge and how—like Alice—we can all disappear in a rabbit hole. Rooms In The Flat House continues this story as a man searches for his loved one. He enters a house that changes and makes no sense. It reminded me of The House That Jack Built, an episode of The Avengers featuring John Steed and Emma Peel. The Importance Of Making Lists reminds us how this simple practice sharpens our focus and fends off despair. I wish I would follow this routine more, albeit not in the same way as the unseen writer.
All the art in Haunthology Vol. 1 is Black & White. Haun’s linework is precise and enthralling. He rarely paints or shades except through inking. I appreciated the realism of his imagery. In Probable Moments, the writer’s creativity, and alertness to the outside world, remind us how interconnected our lives are. It reminded me of Roger Zelazny’s illustrated novel The Changeling. The Monday After Monday tackles the disconnectedness of isolation and how the pandemic seemed like the world was ending. It reminded me of the 2010 movie Monsters and H. G. Wells’ classic War Of The Worlds. By The Sea, From The Sea brought to mind Nevil Shute’s novel On The Beach and Leo’s graphic novel Aldebaran. Kit-Cat reminded me how iconic those old-fashioned black and whites were. The Arsenal speaks to how fear of civilization breaking down can lead to stockpiling food–and yes–weapons. Finally, Haun invokes the Cthulhu mythos in two stories: Shoggoth In An Alley Behind A Bar In A Small Town and Hastur. Did these stories suggest the cover?
The lettering is on the smaller side, but it’s all uppercase. Only one story, The Class Of 1894, did I struggle to read. The flowing script of the diary entries stressed my eyes, even when magnified. Still, how could I not like a story that reminded me of a favorite GRIMM episode and John Wyndham’s classic novel? Curiously, Haun departs from his usual precise penciling in this story. The portraits seem more painted—or perhaps ink washed–albeit in Black & White.
In Haunthology Vol. 1, Jeremy Haun struggles to cope with the pandemic that threatens to destroy everything he loves and values. These brief tales of terror grab us like Hastur’s slimy tentacles and force us to face our fears and live each day to its fullest.