“Why Are We Obsessed with Monsters?”: A Review of The October Faction #1

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The October Faction #1, cover, Niles and Worm, Oct. 2014

The October Faction #1

Steve Niles (writer & creator)
Damien Worm (artist & creator)
IDW
October 2014

The October Faction is an ode to classic horror. The new series by horror writer Steve Niles (Criminal Macabre, Monsters & Madman) and artist Damien Worm (Monsters & Madman) follows the Allan family who in their delightfully ghoulish Victorian mansion read on the surface as The Addams family, however The October Faction is far darker in theme and aesthetic. The Allan family consists of former monster-hunter turned professor Frederick, his wife Deloris, and his two children Geoff and Vivian. Frederick is the estranged father, trying to put his monster hunting days behind him. Think Don Draper after he was fired from Sterling Cooper meets Gomez Addams. Deloris wears sunglasses and dresses with the kind of shoulder pads only seen on Judy Jetson. She is seen sauntering around town with men in red sportscars and opening the tombs of Frankenstein-esque creatures. Vivian and Geoff are both social outcasts, teased in a way all too familiar to any kid who grew up labeled a “freak.” Both possess unique powers that their parents seem to be blissfully unaware of. Frederick’s former partner Lucas shows up to reminisce on the good ole’ days of monster hunting. Flashback panels display action flick fueled scenes of carnage as Frederick and Lucas wield smoking guns and drive fast cars while battling werewolves, vampires, and other creatures of the night. It all looks very glamorous, but the monster-hunting life has clearly taken its toll on the two men. Lucas reveals that Deloris may be up to no good. He also hints at his own problems, but doesn’t bother Frederick with those. But this isn’t Frederick’s only concern. Vivian and Geoff have been up to some spell-casting, because when your father is a monster-hunter that is totally normal. In the final scene of the issue, we get another nod to classic horror when Deloris opens the tomb of a creature resembling Frankenstein’s monster.

October Faction, Niles and Worm, Allan house

A look at the top portion of the Allan Mansion.

The art is dark, unsurprisingly. Make sure you are sitting under a lamp so you can see all the details lurking in the dark corners. There’s a grimy, mixed-media textural quality that evokes old scratched and stained photographs. Pay attention in particular to the Allan home. It is an homage to the creepy Victorian mansion with lots of subtle and spooky details. The October Faction is clearly obsessed with the idea of “the monster”. Who is the monster? Is the monster the other? Is it evil? But like many a classic horror story, the central concern of The October Faction is the family and the home. I look forward to how Niles and Worm will continue to explore these themes.

4 out of 5

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Smashing the patriarchy with glitter, pink lipstick, and cowboy boots. You can follow her on Instagram @ginnistonik

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