Above: Photo via darbypop.com

By Arts Editor Brendan Barlow

Originally published in April, but collected in a trade paperback released in July, The Living Finger is a horror comic written by Nanaimo local Garth Matthams, with art by Armin Ozdic. Finger tells the story of Jason, a university student who stumbles upon a finger that appears to be alive. After being told by the finger that it would like a body of its own, Jason does his best to oblige, only to find out that the finger has some murderous intentions of its own.

The book is darkly funny, reminded me quite a bit of self-aware, cheesy horror films like Evil Dead or even the lesser known Idle Hands. It effectively sets and maintains this tone, without spending a lot of time winking at the reader, which is nice, because it allows the story to unfold in a satisfying and engaging way.

Perhaps the biggest complaint I have about The Living Finger is that it’s so short, and sets up a world that I can’t wait to learn more about. I purchased a collection of three issues of the comic, which closes on a cliffhanger that I won’t spoil for you here. Length is definitely one of the things that I always had a hard time with when it came to comic books: you are able to consume them so quickly. It’s possible, of course, that this is what the appeal of comic books is, but for me it’s always been one of the downsides.

Mattham’s writing is great, showing a love for horror and a dark sense of humour. Ozdic’s artwork does a great job of creating visceral and interesting scenes from start to finish. It’s clear that there is an interesting and engaging world being built here that extends far beyond just a finger, and the ending really create some exciting possibilities.

There does seem to be a disconnect between the title of the comic, and the world it’s setting up, but perhaps that works in the favour of the story. It certainly stepped outside where I expected it to go, and actually offered a surprising gut-punch in its final moments, like when a season of your favourite show ends with a genuine surprise and then takes off for months (or worse, gets cancelled). I haven’t been able to find anything regarding the next issue, but I have reached out to Garth to join me on The Masthead in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for that.

If you’re into dark comedy and horror, then you need to get your fingers on this delightful comic book; you can do so, and find out more about Garth Matthams, at <www.releasingtheserpents.com>.