Art by: Robert Ahmad @Darth_Ahmad
Written & lettered by: Matt Garvey @MattGarvey1981
“The superhero comic you didn’t know you wanted is finally here…
On a deserted train, do-gooder, Nate gets mixed up with a cult who plan to quite literally raise the devil.”
When I was around thirteen years old I got my hands on a pirated black market copy of The Exorcist. My poor little formative mind had never seen anything like it. There’s a subliminal scene in it where you see what I think is supposed to be the face of the demon – just for a micro second, but that burned into my subconscious forever. It genuinely frightened me. I could see it in my mind perfectly for months after. I had nightmares almost constantly. I absolutely loved the Exorcist as a result. Kids eh? The possession genre in pop culture is one of my favorites. I always had a question though…
What if instead of fighting it, Regan WELCOMED the possession?
Think of the plus side.
What would the benefits of a deal with the devil be?
What if they were Super Powers?
Robert Ahmad does an outstanding job with the art on this story. Stylish, bold beautiful inks and lines. His choice of angles and viewpoints in frames really ramp up the tension & horror aspects of the story. Simple backgrounds and great use of shadow in panels also excel at plot emphasis. I say simple but in this case the Devil is literally in the details where they matter. In one panel where you can see Old Nick reflected in the blood of a poor victim, a beautiful and stylish touch.
There’s that word again – Style. Ahmad’s art has it in droves. It reminds me so strongly of the art of Darwyn Cooke and I promise you from me that is praise of the highest form.
He is still very much his own artist though despite the warm comparison. This book is gorgeous. The colour palette seems a strange choice at first. Surely you think that a tale of the devil, blood and sacrifice cries out for rich red hues but Ahmad’s use of a lighter orange tone contrasting with the glorious deep blacks actually accentuates the creepiness of this story and makes your imagination do all the work in the gory scenes. The book is all the more better for this subtle use of lighting & colour instead of beating us round the head with deep reds.
One of Matt Garvey’s greatest strengths as a writer is taking something familiar and doing something you don’t expect with it. The Devil in Disguise is a great pastiche of the Possession genre. All the usual tropes are there, creepy nurses, dudes in robes etc etc but then Garvey packages it in a way we’ve never seen before and adds something to the story you didn’t see coming – The Devil wants to be a Super Hero. The story jumps around in time periods which in a regular twenty odd page comic can sometimes be hard to carry off, but Garvey does it in a fluid easy to follow way. Genuinely creepy in places, especially the “Birth” scene which leads on to an absolutely jaw dropping splash page that Robert Ahmad should be exceptionally proud of.
Special mention needs to be made for the job Garvey did on the lettering in this book. If he could Matt Garvey would craft the very paper the book was made from with his own hands. The work he has put in to learning the art of lettering is plain to see with the professional and completely seamless job he does of it here. The SFX work is outstanding too. One particular scene where an umbrella tip strikes the floor or a train carriage with a TING! is just perfection.
From the second I opened the cover to the second I put it down The Devil In Disguise wowed me. It’s a beautiful, creepy original take on the idea of possession and I cannot wait to see where Ahmad & Garvey take us next with this.
The Devil In Disguise is available from www.mattgarvey.co.uk priced £3.00