Nightmare Of A Summer Job: Basketful Of Heads #1 Reviewed

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
It’s September, 1983, and Liam Ellsworth is finishing his summer job as a sheriff’s deputy. He finds his girlfriend, June Branch, sitting on the edge of the bridge to Brody Island, Maine, and the two go to meet with Sheriff Clausen. Four convicts have escaped, and Sheriff Clausen wants Liam to go watch after his wife, Roberta. Liam and June meet up with Roberta and her son, and they soon receive a call that these escaped convicts may be more violent than the Sheriff initially thought. 

Basketful of Heads #1 cover by Reiko Murakami
Basketful of Heads #1 cover by Reiko Murakami

In the backup story, a colonial spy makes a pact with bloodthirsty monsters to turn the tide of the Revolutionary War.
Basketful of Heads #1 kicks off the first of Joe Hill’s Hill House comics at DC under the Black Label. This horror comic takes place in a small Maine town and focuses on a junior sheriff’s deputy and his girlfriend.
It’s a promising start to this new comic. While the titular basketful of heads makes only a brief appearance, Liam and June make for a likable pair of leads, and the Clausen family is a peculiar and somewhat off-putting mystery that arises in the book.
Liam is a cautious yet eager man looking to go into law enforcement. He’s friendly, respectful, and looking to impress. June is a jovial and seemingly carefree woman who is looking for commitment and worries about Liam’s job. The Sheriff Wade Clausen looks like your average small town sheriff until you see the palatial mansion owned by his family, his austeir wife, and his pampered son.
The first part of the “Sea Dogs” story at the end of the comic is quite promising as well and throws a very unique premise at the reader.
Basketful of Heads #1 art by Leomacs, Dave Stewart, and letterer Deron Bennett
Basketful of Heads #1 art by Leomacs, Dave Stewart, and letterer Deron Bennett

Leomacs artwork is appealing and brings the kind of smalltown America vibe which story like Basketful of Heads needs. The characters look like your everyday folk, ad the environment is lively and well-detailed. Dave Stewart gives it all a bright palette to drive the seeming innocence of Brody Island home. Dan McDaid and John Kalisz render the “Sea Dogs” chapter, and they do a damn good job of bringing this horror period piece to life.
Basketful of Heads #1 is a strong first step for Hill House. The main story is an absorbing introduction to the life of a young couple looking to make a living and meaning for themselves in a small Maine town while they scratch the surface of something dark and sinister in their town. Meanwhile, “Sea Dogs” looks to be viciously fun Revolutionary War story. This comic definitely earns a recommendation. Check it out.
Basketful of Heads #1 comes to us from writer Joe Hill, artists Leomacs and Dan McDaid, color artists Dave Stewart and John Kalisz, letterers Deron Bennett and Wes Abbott, cover artist Reiko Murakami, and variant cover artist Joshua Middleton.
Final Score: 8.5/10

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