So, true story: I do not believe in ghosts, like, at all. I grew up in a house that was directly across the street from a cemetery, and I used to spend my free time riding my bike and playing hide and seek with my friends there. The house I currently live in was purchased cheaply because the previous owner died in the house and his body wasn’t discovered for a week. In short, I’m not even a skeptic, I’m a complete unbeliever in the supernatural.
And yet, like a lot of skeptics, I do have one story that I can’t explain (unless you consider exhaustion a reasonable explanation, like I do). When I was a wee lad, I remember laying in bed and looking at the bedroom walls and seeing a shadow move across it. The shadow looked like a person, and it walked over to the window and disappeared.
Now, my bedroom was on the second floor, so it was pretty unlikely that something from the street was casting it, plus the wall it was on was the wall blocking the street, which means if it was something outside the window, it would have had to have reflected off something in my room to cast that shadow, and I’m pretty sure shadows don’t work that way.
Every night for a week I saw this shadow figure in my room. It never approached me or did anything threatening, I just appeared in the corner, walked across the wall, and disappeared.
Eventually I told me mother, who put a night light on that wall, and I never saw the shadow man again.
I was about 8 years old, and was the owner of a pretty vivid imagination (it’s what we kids had back before tiktok) so I have no doubt that I was seeing something completely made up in my head, especially in a dark room, and have never seen anything like that since, but still, I have this distinct memory of the way the shadow moved that still kind of creeps me out to this day.
Which is why I was perfectly primed to check out today’s book, Shadecraft from Image comics. Let’s take a look and see if it triggers any more creepy childhood memories.
Here’s the blurb:
Zadie Lu is afraid of her own shadow. She’s a teenager, so she REALLY should have grown out of it by now, right? But something weird is happening in her small town. Zadie could swear the shadows are coming to life. Watching her. Trying to KILL her. But how do you fight something you can’t even touch? And how does all of this tie into her FAMILY, of all things?
From the creative team that brought you the Eisner-nominated SKYWARD, writer JOE HENDERSON (showrunner of Netflix’s Lucifer) and artist LEE GARBETT (Captain Marvel). Join Zadie Lu as she ventures into the shadows to face her fears and discovers a legacy she never knew she had.
Alright, before I get into the review proper, let me start with a strong recommendation for the series Skyward. A just absolutely fantastic series with a unique and interesting premise, and boy do I hope it one day gets a sequel. You totally owe it to yourself to check that series out if you have not already done so!
Now, onto the review.
First off, I have to say that there is so much that works in Shadecraft. For one thing, you have got to have a great artist on a book like this to make it work and Lee Garbett is the perfect choice. His characters are distinct and interesting, and when things get dark they look fantastic. Garbett does an amazing job with the chaotic madness of a book like this, and also manages to capture the quiet moments with the detail they need to have an impact. The art of Shadecraft alone is worth the cover price, and I have not even gotten to the story!
Speaking of, as someone who works with teenagers for a living, I have seen so many authors try to capture who they are and just absolutely fail at it.
But Joe Henderson gets it. His characters feel like real people, and reacted in real ways. When Zadie screws up and embarrasses herself in Shadecraft you feel it, and when she has a conversation with her comatose brother it hits hard and rings true.
And when she is being stalked and attacked by a nightmare shadow monster? Yeah, you better believe you feel that too.
There really wasn’t anything in Shadecraft I disliked, and a lot I loved. If you loved the characters in Skyward I think you’ll love this book to, and if you never read Skyward I’ll bet you run out and pick it up after getting a taste of what Henderson can do.
Shadecraft is a great book and a definite must read. Plus, if you have a teen in your life who is looking to fill that supernatural horror void in their lives with the end of shows like Supernatural and Sabrina, this might just be the perfect thing to recommend.
So until next time, stay safe, and watch out for your shadows!