Behind all of the cuteness lurks something slightly mysterious and just a little bit creepy. This is the best way to describe the new digital comic book series Sanctuary by Stephen Coughlin. A research station on a secluded island houses a game reserve/sanctuary where the animals seem to be just a tad smarter than the human researchers observing them. The arrival of a Panda bear threatens to upset the delicate balance of life for everyone involved.
I have to confess, Sanctuary, was a title that passed me by, but I’m so glad I gave it a chance. Created by Stephen Couglin and published by SLG Publishing, you can get this gem in print, or in a variety of digital options – the first issue is free!
What we get here is our own micro-enviroment, with a selection of animals, all with their own distinct personalities dealing with their human oppressors. There is a certain amount of dark humour here which mixes in nicely with the tone of the books.
The story itslef is unique and well told, with no parts really dragging, but it doesn’t seem to rushed either. The characters are well developed, and you get a really good look at each characters motivvations, fears and hopes – this is equal for the animals, as well as the humans.
The art is excellent, although it is in black and white, this does not detract from the quality of the book, with some nice big open panel layouts and clean lines.
There are some brilliant twists and turns in this series – so far as we are only up to issue #6, and I would say that this is a title that worth investing your time into – you really feel for the characters here and I want to know what happens to them all, who survives and more.
SLG have a sleeper gem here, and its something different enough for those who want to move away from traditional stories you find in comics.
Special mention must go to the cover art too – I’m always interested in seeing different style covers – those that stand out, and I’m glad to see these do. A different design, combined with some really good styles.
Issue #7 is coming soon, and that wraps up the first story arc, I’m sure there are good things to come from this, and I’m glad to see it doing so well.