The Terrifying Sounds Of Silence – An Advanced Look At Alterna Comics’ Sonitus #1

by Brendan M. Allen

Mysterious voices lure a man back to his hometown to visit an abandoned house that he used to frequent as a child. But as he journeys through his old hangout, he encounters a supernatural presence that forces him to face his past and his darkest fears.

In Sonitus #1, a man suffering from a mysterious illness revisits a fixture from his childhood. He and his friends used to frequently break into the old, abandoned house to drink and generally raise a little hell. It was their refuge, a sanctuary. There were no limits. No rules. No boundaries. Something about the place draws him home after more than a decade.

The noise in his head has been there a long time. Doctors dismiss it as tinnitus, but the funny thing about that diagnosis is that it’s a symptom, not a disease in and of itself. Without finding the root cause, there’s no treatment. The constant noise frequently causes emotional issues like depression and anxiety. This guy apparently has a healthy dose of both.

Now, here he is, confronting his past in a freaky old house that is slowly sinking into a dank, dark swamp. Something about the house holds the answers he’s desperately been seeking.

Cody Sousa and Dan Sheppard’s script relies heavily on internal monologue, with only about a dozen words of actual spoken dialogue. The lack of external sound plays right into the nature of the character’s ongoing torment. So far, all the sounds (except those twelve or so spoken words) only exist in his head..

Sousa says:

We really wanted to push the psychological aspect of what his connection is with the house while not giving too much away. Sound plays a major part, but Dan and I went into this knowing the lack of sound can be equally terrifying. When you’re all alone and hear something, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? There’s a lot of ways your thoughts and decisions could go. The characer isn’t the only one taking a guess or making choices. It’s the type of thing where when the story finishes, you’ll have to go back and find all the pieces you didn’t see the first time around.

Sonitus’ single character, one act play creates several unique challenges for the art team. Cecilia Lo Valvo and Dee Cunniffe meet those challenges head on. Lo Valvo’s harsh, angular line work and asymmetrical, twisted panels torque up the tension, while Cunniffe drives the creepiness home with his filtered light sources and shading.

Sonitus is part of Alterna Comics’ newsprint line, which means you can pick up this first chapter for just $1.50, and grab all three chapters in the series for only $4.50. As always, I recommend pre-ordering, especially if your LCS doesn’t already carry Alterna’s line.

Sonitus #1, published by Alterna Comics releases on the 21st of February 2018, so is currently available for pre-order, written by Cody Sousa and Dan Sheppard, art by Cecilia Lo Valvo, color by Dee Cunniffe, letters by Dezi Sienty.

Brendan M. Allen

Brendan Allen has probably had more jobs than you would reasonably believe. Dog trainer? He’s done it. Flooring contractor? You bet! EMT? Army NBC specialist? Road dog for a Celtic rock band? Yes, yes, and och aye! Now he reads comics and writes about them. It’s a rough gig. You can follow Brendan on Twitter @SaintAmish where he mostly tweets about comic books and cystic fibrosis awareness.