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Bubbling up from the creative cauldron of horror maestro Cullen Bunn (Dark Ark, Brothers Dracul, Bone Parish), an unsettling new prestige format one-shot titled Piecemeal is arriving via AfterShock Comics on Dec. 9 to haunt your dreams — and SYFY WIRE has an exclusive preview to share.
Injected with atmospheric artwork from Szymon Kudranski (The Punisher, Spawn), Piecemeal is the debut offering in the indie publisher's new lineup of short graphic novels starring some of its most prolific talent. Immediate associations with Stranger Things and Stephen King only serve to amplify the lurking terror and gruesome fun found inside.
Its nostalgic plotline centers around a group of five teenagers nearing the end of their high school years who plan one last daring adventure together. Their destination is the Nightmare House, a creepy, crumbling mansion and the source of local legend and superstition.
What they discover within the decrepit old home is not just rotting furniture and dusty cobwebs, but an actual human brain floating in a jar of murky liquid. Later, the teens find themselves stalked by a sadistic madman, a murderer whose sole intent is building itself a new body. Piece by piece!
Bunn insists that Piecemeal is a balls-to-the-wall, unapologetic horror yarn.
"It’s part slasher story, part surreal mind-twist, part autobiography," Bunn tells SYFY WIRE. "The kids in this story are kids I could have gone to high school with, and while they are encountering a horror unlike anything anyone has ever faced, there are underlying horrific themes that I’ve definitely faced within my own family. It’s a tale of personal awfulness and how, faced with the unthinkable happening to a family member, even the bizarre seems welcoming."
"When I was a kid, my buddy Doug and I were out exploring the woods near his house," he recalls. "We found this old barn and checked it out. Inside, we discovered all these bones that someone had been carving. We got the Hell out of there as quickly as we could. I think, though, that was the initial inspiration for the kids finding a brain in an old haunted house."
To take this disturbing tale to the next level, Bunn and Kudranski have dropped some hidden twists that sharp-eyed readers should be on the lookout for.
"There are some visual tricks that, if you catch them, will change the story in some interesting ways," Bunn adds. "We kept them subtle, so it is completely possible for two readers to get very different experiences from this story... to the point of understanding the story in very different ways."
Now step into our exclusive 11-page peek at AfterShock Comics' Piecemeal (Dec. 9) in the full gallery below.