Sneak Peek: Why Aren’t You Reading the ‘Stranger Things’ Comic?

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Stranger Things Comic by Dark Horse has been released

So you’re are a fan of Stranger Things. You’ve seen both seasons and are eagerly awaiting the third season while watching Beyond Stranger Things just to get your fix. What if I told you there was a Stranger Things comic? What if I told you that the Stranger Things comic would give you a whole new perspective on the events in season one? You’d rush out and buy it right? Well, there is. It does. And you should.

For those that either haven’t read the first issue or for those that haven’t seen the Netflix series (what rock have you been under?), Spoiler Alert: We are going to talk about what happened in issue one and take a sneak peak at issue two.

Stranger Things Comic

Stranger Things Comic Cover Art for Issue #1

Written by: JODY HOUSER
Pencils by: STEFANO MARTINO
Inks by: KEITH CHAMPAGNE
Colors by: LAUREN AFFE
Letters by: NATE PIEKOS
Cover by: CLAYTON CRAIN

Stranger Things #1

The first issue of the Stranger Things comic hit the shelf on September 26, 2018 and it fills in a lot of what we didn’t see on screen during season one. This is Will Byers story. The one you didn’t get to see in the first season. This miniseries follows Will Byers into the dimension of decay and destruction and lets us experience what he went through while he was in the Upside Down. If you’ve every wondered how a kid survived the horrific extra-dimensional world that destoryed every adult who entered (during season 1) now’s your chance to learn.

In the Netflix series, we see 12-year-old Will Byers was bicycling home from a ten-hour (Gah! I miss those days) Dungeons & Dragons session with his friends. On the road they call Mirkwood, Will is startled by a monster and crashes his bike. Terrified he rushes home but the creature tails him and there is no one home to help him. The last we see of him for he is standing in a shed with a loaded shot gun. After that he vanishes until the last two episodes of the season.

This is the point where the Stranger Things comic picks up. We see that Will is transported from his shed to a shed in the Upside Down. Fortunately, he keeps the loaded weapon and his wits in the process. Thinking back to the recent Dungeons & Dragons session, he uses the gun and buys himself time.

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Houser does a great job with the writing. Not only are we seeing Will’s side of the events of season one but we are finally getting to explore both the Upside Down and a character we didn’t get to see much. In the series we learn what details we knew about Will from flashbacks and memories that belonged to those around him. Now we are looking through his eyes.

One of the best parts of this series is the way in which the boys’ friendship and their gaming sessions are woven in. Their D&D sessions were a core part of the boys’ friendship and informed their understanding of the monsters they faced in the show. In the Stranger Things comic, it is those memories that sustain him and assist him as he struggles to stay alive.

 

Stranger Things #2 Cover Art preview, via Dark Horse

Written by: JODY HOUSER
Pencils by: STEFANO MARTINO
Inks by: KEITH CHAMPAGNE
Colors by: LAUREN AFFE
Letters by: NATE PIEKOS
Cover by ALEKSI BRICLOT

Stranger Things #2

The second issue of the Stranger Things comic is due out October 31st, 2018. Talk about a Halloween Treat! This issue allows us to see Will sorting out the voices he was hearing in the last issue. I strongly recommend re-watching the first three episodes of Stranger Things season one before Halloween. Then pick up the Stranger Things comics and read them both. It’s pure genius the way that the events from the Netflix series are woven into the events in this issue. Especially, the incident with Barb.

We also get a chance to view the other characters from Will’s point of view. In this issue, we see how Will views his friends and family. especially telling is the way he perceives his friend Mike, and his own mother. The very behaviors that made Joyce a raving lunatic to those around her are the same behaviors that offer comfort and encouragement to her lost, scared, and confused son.

Will’s desire to survive is strong and connecting with his Mom, however briefly, strengthens it. Fans of the Netflix series will recall that Mike pointed out in season one: “Will could’ve cast protection last night, but he didn’t. He cast fireball.” then he clarifies “He could’ve played it safe, but he didn’t. He put himself in danger to help the party.” That quote really encapsulates the resourcefulness and determination we see in this issue. Check out the preview images below.

Will navigates the Upside Down, makes the choice between hiding and fighting, and figures out how to communicate with his mother. He’s scared, and he desperately wants to get home but the moment he realizes that getting home might endanger those he loves; he chooses to cast fireball, rather than protection. It’s an awesome moment.

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Keeping the Spirit

Upon reading the first issue, fans will see that they have chosen exactly the right team for the comic adaption. They capture the essence of what made Stranger Things phenomenal. That spirit of the nostalgia the Duffer Brothers tapped into while weaving an intricate cast of very real characters. From the thought balloons to the brighter tones the comic definitely rocks the look and feel of an ’80s era comic book (I should know, I was there) and that is so on point for this series. There’s a solid retro feel that is just modern enough not to feel outdated.

Martino, Affe, & Champagne worked really well together and the art as a whole lets us explore the Upside Down in a nuanced and visually evocative manner. There’s something so natural in the flow of the art as a whole that is creates a more emotional storytelling. Will’s fear isn’t just in his expression, it’s in his stance, his movement. You can see the fear throughout his entire body.

The Stranger Things comic series is a short run, only four issues total. Issue #1 came out on September 26, 2018. Issue #2 will be out on October 31, 2018. Issue #3 will be out November 28, 2018. The final issue will be out on December 26, 2018. There are rumors that more Stranger Things comic miniseries are in the works but there’s no definitive news at the moment. I’d recommend this title and this book especially as a companion to the original series. It’s a must have for any true Stranger Things fan.

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