There’s nothing like a good mystery. The time spent between the panels of a comic book, anticipating what might happen next, can be just as satisfying as the images on the page themselves, and Scout Comics’ Long Lost #1 provides a mystery worth wondering about.
This first issue—written by Matthew Erman and drawn by Lisa Sterle—tells the story of sisters Piper and Frances who are haunted by a mysterious creature covered in hair and somehow related to the pair’s mother. The first issue mainly focuses on Piper and her dog Pockets trying to live their lives as Piper does her best to ignore the creature’s approach.
Long Lost is full of evocative imagery: hair and entrails mixed in with wooded fantasy and modern suburbia, and I’m eager to find out how all of these disparate elements will coalesce in future issues. The art itself ranges in its level of detail. The normal suburban landscapes are rendered meticulously, but Piper’s surreal visions are more minimal, doing what all good horror should: leaving the fear to grow in our imaginations. Only near the end of the issue do the viscera and the creature itself gain more detail, as if they only become real when Piper is willing to accept that she must face this threat.
While this is a horror comic, Long Lost definitely focus on the sisters. Though we only see each of our protagonists interact with one other character—Piper only talks to Pockets and Frances only with an elderly woman on the bus—these characters are mostly used as sounding boards to allow us to get to know these women. While I think this works in Piper’s case, showing her as a kind, if unconventional, caretaker, Frances comes across mainly as an oversharer. I’m sure she’ll be expanded upon in future issues, but I haven’t found too many reasons to care for her just yet.
What really makes this comic for me is the details. Both sisters share interests and mannerisms that bind them, despite never appearing on page together until the end of the story. The issue, named The Exact Color of Doubt— after a song by the band Liars— contains the lyrics “I will come home to you,” which could refer to either Frances or the creature coming back into Piper’s life. A poster for the film The Seventh Seal hangs on Piper’s wall, which could predict a high-stakes game with this creature or even foreshadow Piper’s eventual fate. The small number of characters allow focus to be drawn to even the smallest details in the panels, as readers’ desire for answers brings them to scouring the page.
All of these little things come together in a comic that, while not perfect, is deeply engrossing. One of the most compelling details about the comic is not what is there, but what isn’t. The comic has no male characters, (besides maybe the dog Pockets) and while this is not an explicit part of the narrative, creators with this much attention to detail wouldn’t do it without a point to make. Long Lost premieres in September, and only time will tell what that point might be.