White Devil is a new four part indie comic series written by Matt Evans and Andrew Helinski with art by Nate Burns. The first instalment is available as a free PDF download here.
In the first issue of White Devil we enter the world of Judy, a bored, small town housewife reflecting on the words of her mother that taught her to be a devoted wife and mother but to always leave something for yourself. And this is exactly what Judy does. Under the cover of a Book Club, Judy is a part of a hellish cult complete with orgies and blood sacrifice. The first instalment sets up the premise, introducing us to Judy and her family and a teasing lead into what looks like some nasty but kind of cool developments in the whole cult side of things.
There’s a decent blend of the normal everyday world held in striking contrast to the dark cult world and as a story, White Devil certainly has potential for development. There isn’t anything in the first issue however that says this is going to be anything ground breaking. Sure, it’s interesting to see the bored housewife genre combined with the satanic cult idea but the comic will have to go along way to make sure to steer clear of the clichéd trappings of both. Finding out exactly what Judy’s secret life was all about is definitely the most compelling aspect of this read which makes me wonder how the writers will achieve that same drive in the following issues.
Visually White Devil uses a stark black and white aesthetic with a bit of red splashed around to heighten certain moments. This bare simplicity works well for the gritty feel of the story. The panels are a bit messy though and there isn’t a great deal of visual balance. While this does add a certain sense of discomfort to the story, it does make the comic quite hard to read.
The lettering also needs a lot of improvement. Judy’s interior monologues are a handwritten style that suits the situation and character but could be a lot clearer. The typed lettering in the dialogue looks out of place with the handmade aesthetic of the rest of it, and it’s really poorly spaced which distracts from the reading.
The art in general is quite good though even if it does need some balancing.
This isn’t a comic for kids by any means. Nor is it a comic for anyone who’s not prepared to see some pretty graphic sex scenes and it wouldn’t be a stretch to call a couple of panels seriously gratuitous. Hard-core sex and violence is all fine in comics, and any other media, if there’s a point to it. Perhaps we’ll need to wait for later issues to really see this point, if it’s there at all for anything other than shock value.
Overall, White Devil is a solid effort by guys obviously just starting out so a lot of its drawbacks can be forgiven in favour of its strengths and I’ve no doubt it will attract a fair audience for a second issue.