Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Art: Michael Walsh
Publisher: Image Comics
Age Rating: M
Release Date: April 7, 2021
The Silver Coin is a totally new five part horror anthology miniseries from Image Comics. The project is a collaboration between creators Michael Walsh, Chip Zdarsky, Kelly Thompson, Ed Brisson , and Jeff Lemire. In a shared supernatural world each issue tells a separate story that, presumably, revolves around the same cursed coin.
If you’re interested in this comic or any of the others mentioned, simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon.
Issue #1 of The Silver Coin is written by Chip Zdarsky and illustrated by Michael Walsh. Zdarsky has accumulated several Eisner and Harvey awards working on a variety of mainstream and indie projects, including: Sex Criminals, Spider-Man Life Story, Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man, Daredevil, Howard the Duck and Jughead. Illustrator Michael Walsh is a similarly renowned creator known for working on Star Wars, Spider-Man, The Avengers and X-Men projects.
The basic plot of issue #1 is an example of the ‘cursed talisman’ formula in which a talisman grants a protagonist abilities and good fortune but at a terrible and unforeseen price. In this case the talisman is a silver coin and the protagonist is a struggling musician.
The first issue of The Silver Coin takes place in the 70’s. Ryan is the guitarist and lead singer in a fading rock and roll band. He’s passionate, ambitious and hates disco. Disco is displacing rock in popular culture and the band is being overlooked at the local bar in favor of more popular, crowd pleasing disco acts.
In the den of Ryan’s father’s house, consoling themselves with alcohol and weed, the band drunkenly goes through a box of belongings left behind by Ryan’s mother, who abandoned the family long ago. A silver coin is found at the bottom of the box. A remark is made about how old the coin seems.
Later the band is preparing to rehearse. Ryan can’t find a pick and uses a coin as a substitute. It’s the strange, ancient coin found amongst Ryan’s mother’s belongings. The band plays and the result is the most beautiful sound they’ve ever heard. The band tentatively concludes that the coin is witchcraft. Ryan is convinced that the coin is the band’s ticket to success.
What follows is a pattern of increasing success for the band paralleled by increasing tension between Ryan and the people around him as Ryan becomes more hostile and covetous of the coin. Ryan’s hostility escalates until, disgusted by what he perceives as his bandmates lack of ambition, Ryan betrays his friends to play guitar in a headlining disco band. During the performance a fire breaks out. Ryan finds he can’t stop playing. The audience can’t stop dancing. The club burns to the ground with everyone inside it. Ryan and the audience burn to death under the spell of the coin.
The art is what attracted me to the book and it does not disappoint. Walsh’s lineart is deceptively utilitarian. What I mean by that is, with the exception of the gruesome climax, most of the illustrations are just not as dynamic as you would find in an action comic. But the sensible and unobtrusive style serves the story well. Walsh’s coloring is fantastic. Moody, limited color schemes are thoughtfully used to set the tone for each and every scene. The textures are very subtle and organic, at times satisfyingly evocative of old-school liquid watercolor coloring.
I am not a horror aficionado. I was interested in The Silver Coin wholly on the strength of the preview art. Issue #1 of The Silver Coin is a beautiful book. The art is great. The coloring and even the lettering, also by Michael Walsh, are really exemplary. The story is a well executed take on the cursed talisman trope.
Since The Silver Coin is a five issue series with all of the stories revolving around the same silver coin, I wonder if each issue will employ the same trope. Or will the coin function differently in each story? While the writers for The Silver Coin will change from issue to issue, the entire series will be illustrated by Michael Walsh, which is more than enough to keep me interested in the series. The Silver Coin issue #2 is scheduled for release May 12, 2021.