Monday, October 5, 2009

Silent Hill: Dying Inside #1 and 2

You've got to love how the comic describes right in its title what's happening to you as you read it.


James said...

Oh yeah, I've been looking forward to this. What a perfect start to the Halloween season. Thanks, Lewis.

Carlos said...

Wow, never played Silent Hill games before. But this premise and the general idea behind these games sound interesting to play or at least read. But zombie stories only remind me to watch out for Black Lantern Aquaman this Halloween. (Man, he's scary now). Sorry :(
PS: If you had the time, would you go out and get the games????

Anonymous said...

Ok this comic may suck, but you sir managed to get the creepy atmospherics right. Great job!

Stressfactor said...

"Sequential Suckage" Bwhahahaha.

Also, in all fairness, if I recall my Trek correctly, the reason why Spock yells out "The Women" is because there were two women in the away team and when they all beam back up to the ship he realizes that, mysteriously and beyond all explanation of Trek physics, the women have NOT beamed up with the rest of the party... leaving them back on the planet below.

And it's a bit sad that I remember that particularly since I'm not that big of a Trek fan.

Psychotime said...

Wow, 50 already?

sirkenz17 said...

For some reason, the art kind of reminds me of Ashley Wood's style, the main difference being that Ashley Wood pulls it off better than this (though whether or not you actually like his style is strictly up to you).

That aside, yeesh, what crap! Who decided that a wisecracking, f-bomb dropping little girl would be a good fit into the Silent Hill mythos!? (And this is coming from someone who has never played the games. Oh, I have the systems to play them on, I'm just too much of a wuss to actually play them.)

And back to the artwork, you're right, Linkara, it does suck. The constantly changing character models and eye sizes (and expressions) make this look like a very long, deformed George Booth strip.

Alex Stritar said...

Wow! This was the 50th episode! Can't wait to see what the 100th will be like.

Good review of a bad horror comic. Perfect for year 2 of my newest Holloween tridition, seeing how far I can get through Silent Hill 2. Last year, I was only able to pplay for 45 minutes. I'm sure that this year I'll be able to get to the part where we learn more than just there are horrible looking monsters here.

日本文化のマニアック said...

You really hit the nail on the head with the problem in this comic: it's not scary! Nothing is, especially not Christabella. Little girls dropping F-bombs aren't frightening, they're hilarious. The total surreality of her just sitting there bleeding and swearing had me screaming in laughter, not terror.

I throw in a vote for loving the art style, but you're right that it makes everything look nightmarish rather than just the town. It belongs in a trippy dream scene from "Sandman," not here.

Btw, got any good links to Silent Hill "Let's Play"s?

Anonymous said...

The guy was right about white representing death; it's commonly seen in Japan while black, red, and orange represent life and purity. Since the game series was created in Japan, I think he was mainly referring it, though I think they do the same in China.

My source: A high-school teacher that has gone to Japan multiple times over a span of 10-15 years. :)

Mountain King said...

I've come across Silent Hill before, just not in comic book form. However there is something familiar about this one.
While the US was surviving Lifeld (SP) inspired art work over here in good old England we had this sort of art work and worse. It was a sign of supposedly "independent" style art work. It was supposed to be crude in a raw and dirty style. Fortunately we grew out of it and are now playing more with shadows.
Sometime ago I suggested you look up the Batman Judge Dredd crossover books. They have almost exactly the same problem as this, only a lot richer in colour!
Anyway, excellent review and the thought of more issues is perhaps the most terrifying thing here!

Mountain King
Ps... Just remembered something else, if you want a great horror comic look up Alan Moore's run on Swamp Thing. There are parts in that are so dark you need a flashlight and Ouija board to get out!

Anonymous said...

It's China and Japan I belive

Anonymous said...

You known, the premise of this comic is actually pretty good. It's fairly original and could have been really scary. Too bad they ruined it with the art and the writing.

underthepale said...

The ending of this episode actually made me yelp. I should have been expecting it, but somehow it snuck up on me.

Your REVIEW has more to do with Silent Hill than this comic does!

Azerth said...

thank god the first person didn't say first otherwise I would kill them. Anyways good review

Shadowmancer said...

The dialogue of that creepy girl sounds like the writer ripped off most of the villains of Buffy in one issue of the comic, as for videogame related comics most of them do suck, however I did find that last years dead space comic was actually quite good you should try it.
P.s. love the silent hill music.

Kelkovas said...

Linkara, i just have say what in the multiple levels of hell is up with the eyes. Personally the whole comic is pretty tame and uninspired but the eyes give me shivers. lol Great review i'm looking forword to the next video.

Flamefire123 said...

I also have to say that while an idea of an evil innocent looking child is normally a safe creepy image it doesn't work if you remove her innocence by making her swear. The creepy part of an evil child is an otherwise 'good' child emotionlessly doing evil things. This girl just comes off as snarky and...disinterested.

Chris said...

Did anyone else see the freakish subtitle 'sexy' above the suicidal zombie wife of that author guy?

Anonymous said...

Has...anybody noticed Troy talks like Rorschach?

Truce Weston said...

Great video! You break whatever rules you want to! Your show! If it help to make whatever point you want to make about the comic, then, it makes sense. And I agree with you about the artwork.

I'm not too familiar with the games, however.

Some very funny stuff! I am not as disturbed by this stuff as I was watching the Kool Aid Man comic. I guess I am screwed up too! lol

so anyway, I look to see what happens next with much anticipation

And until i figure out what the symbolisim of those two issues was, MAKE MINE LINKARA

Dj said...

This made me want to play Silent Hill 2 again. Then I realized that I lent it to someone and kind of lost touch with them. Damnit.

Either way, great video as always. That art is.. something else.

J. J. Ramsey said...

I know that you bashed the artwork in your review, but what I saw of it in the review looked good to me. Obviously, it was very sketchy and distorted, but it looked like it was that way on purpose, and it fit well with a creepy horror atmosphere.

EcchiOtaku said...

Though my only experience with Silent Hill is the second game I have to say even knowing that bit helped make this review even more enjoyable. Can't wait to see how this comic series gets worse.

Just curious, but are you familiar at all with Umineko no Naku koro ni games? They're basically a series of mystery/horror themed sound novels that use a combination of storytelling and music to convey the atmosphere of the story. The artwork used in the game is fairly simple as its only used to show what the characters look like and their current emotion, everything else you need to use your imagination for. I'd definitely reccomend it to horror fans. Here's a youtube link that shows a small part of the first game:

If you're interested, the whole entirety of episode 1 is avaialbe free for download as a demo (there's currently 5 episodes out) here's the link:

Just go to the "Getting Started" section and the demo is right there at the bottom

Jay said...

How did I not know Mary Elizabeth McGlynn sang in addition to all her voice work?
That kind of just blew my mind.

Carrie said...

Stylized anatomy can be done well but saddly this guy fails at it.

Carlos: You can find the Silent Hill games probably for rental at your movie rental place or store for some copies. I think the first was for the PS1 and the rest have been on the PS2 (and some other machines.)

Ilushia said...

I know you probably don't care, but the 'white being the color of death' thing is a fairly common standard across much of east asian and southeast asian culture. Frequently those in mourning will wear white or off-white clothing in the same way that a european might wear a black dress or the like. It's not specific to just one country, either, being common amongst Chinese and Korean cultures at the least, and probably others.

I've never been much of a fan of horror, but I do agree with you, the art here really fails to create any sense of actual horror. If they'd had, say, two artists work on it, one who draws 'normal' comics and the guy they got here working together, with the 'normal' artist doing the backgrounds and characters from places other than Silent Hill, and the guy here doing the monsters and 'scary' parts, I suspect it'd work quite nicely. Especially if the art style gradually devolved towards this style as the story went along, giving a feeling that what you were seeing was the slow deterioration of the characters' grasp of reality and sanity as they're assailed by the mad imagery of a city fueled by their own psyches. But alas, they chose to go with the 'freaky all the time' look and fail because of it.

Lordprime said...

So you know the stories, call silent hill2 amazing, but have not played the games, huh.

As for the video, funny as per usual, can't wait for the rest.

Batzarro said...

Honestly, I only played part of 2 on Xbox.

Still the expressions on the main guy's face on the comic draw spontaneous laughter. Doesn't make the story scary, though.

Joysweeper said...

I dislike horror just in general, but you're cool, so I guess I gotta watch.

You're not kidding about the art. It's like drawing with the off hand on a paper bag.

Hey, are you ever going to review a Star Wars comic? I don't know if I'd be happy to hear if you're considering it or not, since a lot of them are pretty continuity-heavy and interconnected, so if you reviewed I don't know, Requiem for a Rogue most of it would be utter confusion about who these people were. But there are some standalones, too, and Sturgeon's Law applies as fully to the Star Wars EU as anywhere else.

BumblebeeZ3 said...

I appreciate how the Tentacle makes a ring behind the girl indicating that they knew what they were ripping off all along.
That one picture of Christabella reminds me of Cartoon Network's Flapjack.
Congratulations on 50 episodes! Keep up the good work!

Luminairis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The House of C.R.P said...

The way you have learned about Silent Hill is just like how I (And Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation) learned about Resident Evil; Through TheDarkId's Lets Plays on the series (You read FromEarth's LP's right?). Except with Resident Evil, I found out how hilariously bad the story was.

Speaking of Yahtzee, he is a massive fan of Silent Hill, and has taked about the series alot in his reviews. He pointed out that Silent Hill 4 was bad because of the gameplay, not the story.

"Monsters? They look like Monsters to you?"

Justin said...

I loved, loved this review. Your "disturbing imagery" montage with the cutesy music was perfect!

I do have one thing you might find interesting, however. In at least Silent Hill 2, it really MIGHT be James that has the power in the town, and he really MIGHT want to punish himself, due to the extreme guilt he feels about his wife's death. This is especially apparent with Maria, who looks like his wife, but constantly, constantly berates him over every little thing.

Chris said...

This seems like a bad version of Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, at least judging from the artwork.

Lewis Lovhaug said...

" do have one thing you might find interesting, however. In at least Silent Hill 2, it really MIGHT be James that has the power in the town, and he really MIGHT want to punish himself, due to the extreme guilt he feels about his wife's death. This is especially apparent with Maria, who looks like his wife, but constantly, constantly berates him over every little thing."

I considered that, but remember - Pyramid Head was the only one in an active punishment role. The other monsters were manifestations of things entirely separate from punishment.

"(You read FromEarth's LP's right?)."
FromEarth's as well as a couple of youtube Let's Plays. I agree with FromEarth's interpretation of Silent Hill 4 about the God thing at the end trying to aid Walter.

The Window Keeper said...

I never liked Templesmith's art, especially in the "Dead Space" comics. I seriously couldn't tell who was who because no character looked the same twice.

How did you pass up the word "sexy" written above the nurses head though? I thought for sure you would've said something about that. But good call on Chrisabella's "balloon" head. She reminded me of Jay Sherman from "The Critic."

Love it so far, I can't wait to see what you do with the rest of it.

Lord Seth said...

It says a lot when the last minute (about) of your video was way more spooky than the entire comic.

Rhomega said...

I agree with you, this comic's art style sucks. It's creepy, but not in the right way.

I wanted to play Silent Hill 2 when it came out, but I was quickly discouraged by my brother, and didn't play my first survival-horror game until Eternal Darkness for the Gamecube.

Anonymous said...

God, that's terrible. Seriously, people need to do a little research when expanding on an established fictional world. And, seriously, what the hell was up with Christabella's last line? Anyway, I recommend that you play at least Silent Hill 2 if the opportunity arises. Experiencing the atmosphere for yourself is amazing. Creepy, oppressive, and yet almost serene at times. I almost feel drawn to this place myself. And the soundtrack is indeed wonderful.

MailOrderClone said...

Regarding the town itself, apparently Silent Hill is actually based on a real town, at least partly.

The town is Centralia, Pennsylvania. As the story goes, the residents of the town used an abandoned mine as a garbage dump for some years, and eventually the mine began to fill. So the local volunteer fire brigade set fire to the garbage, trying to burn it off. They then forgot to put the fire out. It eventually spread into some abandoned coal mines.

That was in May of 1962. The fire is still burning right this very second.

Worse yet, the mine in question snakes under half of the town, releasing toxic gasses into the air. This also makes putting out the fire particularly hazardous, being that it is contained inside of an unstable mine, and sending firefighters in there to put it out is about as suicidal as anything you can imagine.

So what's left is a ghost town, effectively. As of 2007 there were about nine people living there. Can't imagine they're the brightest folks in the world though.

There's a pretty lengthy wikipedia article on the town if you're interested.,_Pennsylvania

Sieg-sama said...

1) Awesome review as usual. Things were getting slow somewhere around "Mickey Mantle" (I guess it's so boring it's not even fun to mock)

2) You really should play the games. At least SH2. It's beyond awesome.

3) You asked what the bland shadows meant in symbolism? As a design freak I can tell you. They mean "Hey, my inner world is so poor, boring and bland, that I don't even have any special fears or phobias. My mind is just a half-done sketch of a stereotypical character, who may or may not have been rushed."

Can't wait.

Mela said...

I've just watched the first half of this video, but so far the art is atrocious. It's like a really bad Sam Kieth impersonation. I've never played these games before (I'm a big wuss when it comes to horror), but these seem nothing like any of the clips/reviews I've seen of Silent Hill. They're more a bad attempt at copying J-Horror as a subgenre.

MailOrderClone is right about Centralia as a possible inspiration. There's only five household left there, and they've of the creepy-stupid "It's my home, and I ain't leaving" variety; the state has revoked the ZIP code and pretty much made it clear that they're on their own if they get sucked into a sinkhole. It's a beautifully eerie sight, with the smoke coming out of every slight crack in the ground, and it will be for a while (the coal mine has enough fuel for it to burn for something like 300 years). I can see where it'd make a good inspiration for a horror series.

日本文化のマニアック said...

People are missing the point with the "Asian" thing; it's not that Linkara doubted there were Asian cultures who considered white to be a symbol of death, just that "Asian" is the most descriptor imaginable, encompassing a continent with about three billion people and many, many diverse cultures.

Lewis Lovhaug said...

Everything I've read suggests that it's ONLY the movie that was based off of the town. The games were instead just a fairly original concept, especially when you consider that unlike the movie (with the exception of Homecoming), the mining aspect never existed, it was SNOW falling from the sky and not ash, and that nowhere have I seen any of the Japanese game designers saying that that town was where they got their inspiration.

Anonymous said...

"Everything I've read suggests that it's ONLY the movie that was based off of the town. "

And the games could be based on any one of dozens of towns that were small resort towns the location is ambigous with some contradictions putting it in California yet other clues list a location in Maine with others detailing a New Hampshire location. Plus in the games it's implied that the Silent Hill is actually three towns. One town is normal and inhabitied. One town is abanonded but normal. One town is the one where the weird crap happens.

MFlorian said...

I always had a hard time with the concept that it was three towns (or at the very least, inhabited by anything other than the cult).

Cybil in the first game mentions she showed up because a neighboring town had lost contact with Silent Hill. And Laura from Silent Hill 2 doesn't seem to have any interactions you can't percieve.

I'm not entirely sure the developers imagined it being more than one game when it was made. Several of the monsters you can fight were clearly human to start with (the parasite controlled nurses and doctors).

I've always thought Silent Hill just dropped off the map and people refused to go there anymore. Like an urban legend.

If there's a "real" Silent Hill anymore, there's nobody in it.

Demon said...

This comic looks terrible.

And that makes me so damn sad, since Silent Hill wouldn't actually be all that hard to adapt into a proper comic.

The art sort of kills the feel for me, too. It doesn't really FEEL like Silent Hill with art like that. Oddly, the free-flowing-ness of it and lack of backgrounds just takes away from anything that would have made it creepy. A huge part of the games' ability to be unnerving was its dark, oppressive atmosphere.

AutobotDJ said...


So Transformers and GIJoe aren't alone in their "being stuck with abysmal stories because IDW is run by idiots" predicament, then.

Ironically, the writer of these Silent Hill comics is Scott Ciencin, who's... well, read for yourself:

Speaking of crappy comics by IDW... how long before Transformers: All Hail Megatron or G.I. Joe Special: Helix get reviewed?

Xel the Author said...

I liked this review. Feared for a moment there at the end, like you were going to go all silent hill-ish on us and end up freaking me out with a suprize. Hell it felt like one was going to happen just because it called for something to strike out from the reachs of ones own mind.

By the way... When is Revolution of the Mask #3 coming out? End up 2010 at the soonest?

Anonymous said...

"Cybil in the first game mentions she showed up because a neighboring town had lost contact with Silent Hill."

There is a huge story problem with that. Usually if a town has it's contact lost more then one person is sent to find out what happens especially if there was some sort of trouble with a cult or something. Well you would think at least in the real world that more then one cop would be sent since perhaps a disaster wiped out all contact.

Shattered Memories may address some of the problems the Silent Hill franchise has.

J-Naps said...

if anything silent hill related reminds you of a-ha right away, it has already failed

great review as always, being a silent hill junkie myself you hit the nail on the head

Ivan Druzhkov said...

sirkenz17, funny you should mention that, since Ashley Wood did do the cover for issue 1. Just pause the video at ~185 seconds and you'll see his credit.

日本文化のマニアック, I get my Silent Hill fix from two guys on YouTube. baruttv has video walkthroughs for the first four games (and he has a flair for time-compression musical numbers to boot). My favorite, though, is L0rd Vega, who did blind runs of the first three games. His SH2 LP is full of good stuff, particularly his reaction to meeting Pyramid Head and to the reward in the lock-box puzzle in the hospital.

I haven't had the dubious pleasure of reading this comic, but I did get ahold of one entitled "Sinner's Reward." It's definitely more Silent Hilly than this thing, though I found that it ran into some of the same problems. To paraphrase Yatzhee, the scary part of Silent Hill is the feeling of being alone and trapped in a town that hates you a passive-aggressive fashion and takes great pleasure in grinding you down. The comics (and Homecoming, to a certain extent) just seem to want to throw monsters and personal tragedy at you as fast as possible, and you don't really get to spend enough time with the setting or the characters to really foster any sort of connection.

I'm also a little disappointed that this story seems to be going the monster-heavy route. It may be just me, but I always found the games are at their freakiest when the topography and the architecture start playing mind games with you, with the monsters as upsetting wallpaper. Of course, I am a big House of Leaves fan, so your milage may vary.

But this comic's biggest crime? NO HEALTH DRINKS!!!! Honestly, how can you fistfight Pyramid Head while confronting painful emotional truths without a brown vial of nature's goodness close at hand?

Anonymous said...

If I remember correctly, Christabella is the name of the leader of the cult in the movie and in this way, can be seen as the origin of the horror itself. If the comics are going based on the movie, then yes, she was an appropriate choice, and the "Where are you hiding Alessa?" is perfectly in place.

It is rather sad they picked the movie as the basis for the comic rather than the video games.

Heather said...

Thank god you've said you liked Silent Hill 4. It's a favorite of mine and too many people say it's a terrible game.

AirforceOne said...

Ah, another interesting and a well thought out review. Only one thing that kind of bothers me and I am glad that no one has made a comment was the political name (Moore).

Sad how this comic was created. It seemed like it was open for great potential but then left in the dust. Was there an editor?

MFlorian said...

"Shattered Memories may address some of the problems the Silent Hill franchise has."

I don't know. Shattered Memories is specifically mentioned as a re-imagining instead of a remake. And I remember reading Harry Mason lives in Silent Hill in this version. Well, surprised to find it out anyway. Check IGN's preview.

It may ultimately be non-canon.

Anonymous said...

"And I remember reading Harry Mason lives in Silent Hill in this version. Well, surprised to find it out anyway."

Well that may just be the town effing with him since if you watch more of the preview there are is another couple inside the house who has no idea who he is and demands he leave.

Taranaich said...

Silent Hill is simultaneously one of my most loved and most hated settings: loved because it has so much potential for creative and brilliant stories with a connecting element, hated because it's so. Damn. SCARY.

Just isolating a few important factors lays the foundation for a fascinating narrative: what is creating the monsters, who is creating the monsters, and what do the monsters represent? Silent Hill 1: a frightened little girl, with typical little-girl fears. SH2: a man wracked with guilt and confusion over the relationship with his wife. SH3: a teenager facing the complexities of adolescence. And so on.

There's tremendous scope for different variations depending on who is drawn to the town, what their Dark Secret is, and how the secrets manifest, not to mention other characters involved. Which is why it's so disappointing that Dying Inside looks so utterly, contemptibly mediocre. Games of the calibre of Silent Hill simply don't deserve to have bad adaptations.

Also, I was actually a bit concerned you'd pull an NC on us and have some disturbing imagery of your own to throw our way. *shudders from the memory of the Full House review...*

Raven said...

haha, I <3 4's voice acting. it made that game much easier for people like me to play XD

Anonymous said...

@ 日本文化のマニアック the white is Death thing comes form China which in turn gives all the "Asian" nations this belief, Japan, the Koreans ect because they all share the same root.

Anyway I do belive Ben Templesmith had a lot on his plate during the making of this some so I guess he choosed to rush this inseted of something like Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse (which is awesome)

Jeremy A. Patterson said...

This is one of the best hair fetish moments in comic book history!


Anonymous said...

Although this comment might be almost a year after this video was posted, I thought it would be interesting to point out that the artist for this comic Ben Templesmith also was the artist for the Dead Space comics that tied in with the game. And although the artwork in the Dead Space comics is essentially the same, it works pretty well on the Necromorphs seeing as they are mutated and torn-up corpses.

Mateja Kovač said...




Oh man, I gotta listen closely for that sound next time I hug someone! XD

Oh God, I can't believe Konami's behind this. Even AFTER this, they made good games (SH: Shattered Memories) so I can't believe someone approved this.

10reapaer01 said...

Even beyond the, "White is death in Asia," thing on its own, why does her coming from a large Asian community matter? Was she Asian? The art's so bad, I can't really tell what race she's meant to be. I'd have to assume, though, that since the doctor mentions where she comes from as opposed to just her, she's probably Caucasian. Did the people in her neighbor hood just go around saying, "By the way, Jim, did you know that the color white represents death in my culture? Why am I randomly bringing this up in conversation? I have no idea!"