Echoes #1, the Top Cowhorror suspense comic that sold out in one day, is now available to read for free! Brian, a new Dad, is taking care of his sick father while managing his own schizophrenia. Brian has a firm hold on the disease, until his father tells him a secret on his death bed. He’s murdered young girls and hidden their bodies under the crawlspace at 13139 Haymaker, and he wants Brian to find them. This is when his grasp on reality slips, and he must fight for his sense of identity.The comic asks some important questions. Will Brian succumb to his disease like his father? How much of us is simply what our parents have passed down to us? The horror here is not a fantastic monster lurking in the shadows with big fans and teeth, but is a monster that we must all deal with. Like Brian says, “This is just a deserted house, with nothing going on. This is just my brain working against me.” The monster is psychological. It is us, when our brain fights against us.EchoesIt is the horror of not knowing everything about someone so close to us. The fact that Brian could care for his father on sick bed day in and day out, and never know that his father had been a killer who made trinkets out of young girls’ corpses is the driving point of the horror here. Evil is all around us and we might not even realize it. We could actually be caring for it our entire lives, without ever knowing the difference, until one day we’re told the truth, and that truth might shake our entire existence.

The story is written by Joshua Hale Fialkov and illustrated by Rahsan Ekedal. Ekedal does an amazing job illustrating Echoes #1. He’s shaded it brilliantly, using black and white to add to the suspense of a man lost between good and evil. Then there’s the fine lines, such as the image of Brian’s demonic form looking back at him in the mirror, and the character’s enormous eyes asking for help, that really push the story over the edge.

It’s great that Top Cow decided to publish a story such as this, which deals more with the psychological side of horror. Echoes is published under Minotaur press, which deals with more independent, cerebral, self contained stories like Echoes and Last Mortal. It’s wonderful to see a press so involved in a comic’s success, especially one that is so nontraditional.  In the words of Top Cow Publisher Filip Sablik:

Echoes is one of the projects I’m most proud of this year, so I can’t say I’m surprised the first printing sold out immediately. It’s exactly the type of high quality, sharply written, beautifully drawn, self-contained and easily accessible story-telling the industry says it wants but repeatedly fails to support up front.

The first issue is available to read for free here. Visit Joshua Hale Fialkov’s website for more information on his work. Some of the titles he will be working on include I,Vampire, and Iron Man 2.0, among others. Echoes has also just been released in hardcover.