Touching a nerve that hits close to home for some, a harrowing new horror title from AfterShock Comics centers around the treasures and trinkets that collect within our lives and the dehumanizing effects of worshipping those objects over neglected loved ones.
Written by DC's Bombshells' and Batwoman's Marguerite Bennett and injected with shocking artwork by ALTERS' Leila Leiz, Horde is a 72-page original graphic novel that arrives just in time for Halloween on October 16 with its housebound terrors down every hallway — and SYFY WIRE has an exclusive sneak peek inside its diabolical doors.
Electrified with unsettling shades by colorist Guy Major and letters by Marshall Dillon, Horde's plotline follows the nightmarish destiny of Ruby Ando, a young girl who attempts to reconnect with her estranged, hermit mother after the death of Ruby's father. This leads her back to the bizarre hoarder residence of her mom, where a labyrinth of occult secrets and dangers lurk.
All the attention and love Ruby was never given she sees her mother lavish on material possessions that seem to have taken hold of her brittle susceptible mind. But when Ruby foolishly tries to free her mother from her controlling trinkets' grip, the house fights back and ensnares both women within its hellish maze. Now, brought to twisted life by a mother's deranged love, the "Horde" is determined to eliminate Ruby from the cherished collection—or see her join it for eternity.
“Ruby fears that her mother, Mia, values possessions over everything, including her own child," Bennett said in a statement. "She feels like an object, a souvenir of her mother’s great love affair with Ruby’s father. She feels like a trinket, exoticized and objectified by a woman who used possessions to feel powerful, special, superior, and important --- uses objects as armor, as proof of her success and lifelines to memory.
"Anyone who has felt 'collected,' dehumanized, disposable, tokenized may relate. The struggle to define and then seize your own self-worth, to prove yourself to others but especially to the ones who ought to love you above all things is a vicious battle. Ruby is the fear of every overachieving child desperate for love and recognition, filled with anger and grief and still that longing for one last chance.”
Besides Bennett's intimate storytelling, Leiz's alarming artwork perfectly captures the unnerving, dreamlike quality of the demonic domicile.
"I tried to use more black and white ambiance to express the fear and lots of details for the claustrophobia," Leiz tells SYFY WIRE. "Also, I wanted to get closer to the psychology of the characters for the gestures and expressions. The Homunculus of Marguerite’s universe asked to use all my imagination. I wanted graphically to bring to the story what Marguerite had on her mind and add my own vision.
"I brought my European style to this book. In Europe we spend a lot of time in research and documentation before drawing a single line. This huge work needs to express a special realism that you can find in every detail."
"I did a lot of the research and watched many documentaries about hoarders to better understand the mentality of Mia," she adds. "I also watched a lot of movies to find inspiration, because the cinema is for me the closest art to comics. I watched a lot of black and white films, such as The Innocents, The Haunting, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane and almost all of Hitchcock. I’ve also watched films of the eighties like Poltergeist, The Shining and others."
Now unlock the uncanny corners of AfterShock Comics' Horde in our exclusive preview in the gallery below, then tell us if you'll step inside its psychological scares when it arrives in October.