Creators: Stephen and Owen King
Adaptation: Rio Youers
Artist: Allison Sampson
Sleeping Beauties #1 from IDW is a horror comic about a sleeping sickness that breaks out all over the world. And, as if that were not strange enough, the sickness only affects women. The story follows several women in the small town of Dooling whose lives are touched in one way or another by the disease — including a sheriff, a warden, and an inmate. In the background, a mysterious woman enters the town and begins to cut a bloody path of carnage. She seems to be the only one unaffected by the sickness.
The premise is scarier than the execution. I found Sleeping Beauties #1 to be an okay read. Rio Youers (Halcyon) checks all the right boxes with his adaption of the Stephen and Owen King’s novel. The narration is crisp, the dialogue moves, and the silences are effective. But the storytelling feels uninspired and predictable. Perhaps that’s because the pitch is all very Stephen King. There’s a small-town setting, well-meaning authority and parental figures, and percolating themes related to the loss of innocence.
The artwork does a better job of drawing us into the story. Allison Sampson’s (Genesis) linework suggests a grim world in which characters rarely smile, except for the mysterious woman. The artist employs texture to show the effects of the sleeping sickness in an imaginative way. And, she goes for broke with paneling and perspective. Everything is a bit jagged and off kilter. This decision doesn’t always work, mind you. It can be a bit distracting as we navigate the story. But, overall, the art is the best thing about this comic.
I wouldn’t put Sleeping Beauties #1 on my pull list; however, I might recommend it to a Stephen King fan. I didn’t find it to be an especially scary or compelling inaugural issue. Nevertheless, the premise is interesting and the artwork is thoughtful. There’s a dearth of really good horror comics out there right now. So, I might keep an eye on this comic book. It has the potential to get better.
This title will be available June 2020.