THE ENVY (Aazurn Publishing, August 2013 – – available only through pre-order in the June PREVIEWS catalog, black and white horror/dark fantasy $2.49) Written and Lettered by Erica J Heflin. Illustrated by Rom Friere. Edited by James O’Callaghan. Cover Colors by Diana Martinez
What happens when envy gets taken to the next level? Can initial and casual envy lead to greater jealousy? What are the consequences if envy and jealousy are allowed to fester and grow, building up to a boiling point? These are the issues that THE ENVY explores as family relationships and friendships alter and change in different and darker fashion.
The little independent company that could – – Aazurn Publishing – – takes another step forward with THE ENVY, the first time that Aazurn has published a book-length work from a single creative team. Up to this point (aside from TALES OF FEAR, founder Gary Scott Beatty’s solo anthology) everything from INDIE COMICS MAGAZINE and INDIE COMICS HORROR has been a collection of short works from a variety of creators.
The cover illustration indicates one of the terrible consequences and possibilities of out-of-control jealousy and envy. However, upon reading the opening pages readers may think they have wandered into a tribute to the old school romance comics from the 1950’s and 1960’s. Three attractive women get together over dinner with a single male companion. He introduces Indivia (a sultry and exotic looking woman with an equally intriguing name) as his new girlfriend to his sister and her best friend. The casual look to the art and clean lines remind of the friendly Archie Comics style help lull the reader into a false sense of comfort.
Danielle, the best friend (and narrator of the story), takes to Indivia immediately and remarks of her classical beauty. Sister Natasha, on the other hand, is a little more wary and protective of her brother David’s feelings. As the relationship between David and Indivia continues to nuture and grow the character of his sister Natasha begins to change for the worse as she becomes obsessed with worry and anxiety. What starts out as a friendly tale of new friendships and new love blossoming takes a darker turn as Natasha’s strong feelings have intense psycho-somatic consequences. Readers may stop feeling they are witnessing an Archie or romance comics tribute and instead remember how they felt the first time they read an issue of TALES FROM THE CRYPT or similar fare. There is a mounting sense of dread that circulates throughout the remainder of THE ENVY until it’s finally released in the concluding pages. This is a story that would feel right at home in the pages of the recently revived CREEPY and EERIE COMICS. If you enjoy that type of story (I sure do) then you will be most comfortable here once the shocks abate.
Writer/Letterer/Creator Eric J Heflin is very active in the world of indie comics. She is the writer, editor and publisher at Felinx Publications at ww.readwebcomics.com. Some of her other works, such as THE BLACK HAND are available via Alterna Comics at Comixology (digital) and CHRONOGRAPHER through Gray Haven at www.grayhavencomics.com (print).