‘Survivors’ Club’ is a 9-issue comic book series published by Vertigo. written by Lauren Beukes and Dale Halvorsen.
Survivors’ Club follows a group of sole survivors who are brought together to kill a mysterious video game that makes people go insane.
Okay, that sounded a lot better in my head.
What comes across as a weird, cheesy 80s premise about a killer video game is actually horror fan catnip. How? The survivors each survived a premise straight out of a horror movie in 1987. One actually had a movie made out of the events of his childhood, which is a straight up combination of The Amityville Horror and The Exorcist. Another is an interesting twist on that other famous doll of the 80s. Each character is inspired by a horror movie or urban legend that we know, and integrating it into the story as an explanation for art imitating life a la Cabin in the Woods is super effective here.
What could very easily have been a copy or a chance to capitalize on horror fan’s love of all things meta (and 80s, for that matter) with quippy, tongue in cheek references quickly morphs into its own beast. I sometimes find that a comic series with a lot of characters can be distracting, especially if I am reading the series month to month as they are released; I prefer to follow a main hero (or anti-hero) and not bounce around to side characters too much. However, this series does an amazing job. Even though the focus understandably switches regularly due to the fact that this is an ensemble story, I never got the feeling that I’d lost sight of any of them. In fact, each issue just left me craving more and more about every single one of them. The authors do an amazing job at keeping the storylines separate. In fact, by the second issue I found that I was equally invested in learning all about their pasts as I was about the present.
The art in this series is also amazing. The switches in colour provide a seamless indicator to the reader that you are switching from the story you are reading to either another location or another time, like a flashback. With so much jumping around, it should feel more disjointed, but because the colour tones are all dominantly dark, the change is not as jarring as it sounds.
I will admit that I am a huge Lauren Beukes fan. I don’t know if I would have discovered this gem of a series if not for her name attached. If you are interested, stay tuned as I plan on reviewing some of her work for Women in Horror Month.
Survivors’ Club is, unfortunately, a limited series. All nine issues that are available are the complete series. Fortunately, I have good news and more good news. The good news is that it is available as a bound graphic novel if you missed it on its original release. The “more good news”? According to Deadline, a television adaptation is on the way on the CW! I will take all the Survivors’ Club that I can get!