Set during the summer in Jamaica, Duppy ’78 is a visceral story about very evil and powerful men who cement their control with the use of children known as Duppy Conquerors. Now, for the uninitiated, a Duppy is a ghost that can cause all types of harm including death. So basically these men are wielding these children as weapons because they can call forth some pretty nasty things from the “other side.” However, control can only last for so long as a child’s loss brings the conjuring of the most feared Duppy of them all.
Duppy ’78 is one of those stories where the writing and art are one hundred percent in sync with one another. This makes the story’s impact that much more enjoyable and uncomfortable when it needs to be. Seijas spins a tale of drug lords and murderers that is quite violent, while at the same time giving you the innocence of the children that brightens certain moments. Though we all know that in a horror story they can be the most frightening, as well, because of how we naturally perceive children to be. This is expressed expertly and Seijas provides many gripping moments in the story that keep it from falling into several horror clichés.
What is also great about this title is that even though the story is one steeped in Jamaican folklore, Seijas keeps the story from being confusing for those who know nothing of the culture. There’s a nice glossary of Jamaican Patois phrases that are used in the story along with their definitions to help the reader before diving into the story. Seijas writes the characters using their native dialect, which is great and adds to their authenticity while pulling you even further into their narrative.
When the story is done pulling you in, Amancay’s artwork yanks you in further and plants you firmly in the world of Duppy ’78. As stated earlier, his style fits perfectly with the narrative and provides the visual storytelling necessary to move it along. There is so much detail in just about every panel that it takes a minute or two to soak it all in. His characters are very expressive and you can feel the fear and desperation when those horror moments take place in the story. Daniel Warner’s colors do a wonderful job of heightening the intensity of certain events throughout the story. Two scenes stand out immediately, and that’s when Judah sees Too Bad for what he really is, and the summoning of the Rolling Calf. They are just two visually striking scenes worthy of being framed and on a wall somewhere.
Duppy ’78 is one of the stronger horror/crime titles to hit the stands recently, and I would highly suggest you take a look at it. Casey Seijas and Amancay Nahuelpan did a great job from beginning to end, and hopefully they team up together for another story that’s as good as this one in the future!
Till next time!