File this one under one I thought we’d already brought to your attention, but no, the only mention I can find of it is in Olly’s Thought Bubble 2018 write-up when he picked up the preview issue #0. So, with Halloween here, it’s time to dive into a contemporary English folk-horror set in Cornwall – Blood Moon by PM Buchan and John Pearson, with issues #1 & #2 available for you to read for free!
The first two chapters of Blood Moon, Buchan and Pearson’s Cornish folk-horror comic-book set on the eve of the UK’s divisive Brexit referendum, are now available to read free online, just in time for Halloween. And that’s exactly what I intend to be doing this weekend – settling down with a drink and what looks like a damn fine and scary comic book – I suggest you get your copies and do just the same!
Blood Moon is from the creative team of writer PM Buchan, artist John Pearson, letterer Aditya Bidikar and editor Hannah Means-Shannon (ex EiC of these parts) and tells the dark tale of ex-Christian punk singer Owen and his wiccan wife Maura Fitzwilliam. They’ve moved to Trenance in an attempt to save a marriage but a car of drunken teens, included one who’s got connections at the highest level of government, changes everything, tragically tearing this family apart and setting in motion a tale that asks the question… What price revenge?
“Blood Moon is the most personal story that I’ve written and I’m thrilled at the response that we’ve received already. Horror is my first love and this is a comic-book filled with dark, occult imagery, but at heart it’s a story about what it means to be a father, a husband and a son. About how we react when the worst happens and how our responses affect the people closest to us. There’s a vicarious thrill that comes from a revenge-thriller where the main character dishes out their own version of justice, but that kind of violence comes with with a heavy price in the real world. One of the things that interests me most is looking at the ideas that drive some of my favourite stories and following them to their logical conclusions.” – PM Buchan, writer, Blood Moon
PM Buchan and John Pearson first met at Thought Bubble in 2013, subsequently working together on a triptych of images inspired by the early lives of members of the Manson Family for the CULT exhibition held throughout May 2014 in London’s Orbital Comics.
Buchan’s work has included the horror-comix anthology, Blackout, the Gothic-horror series based on Keats’ poem, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, and the 44Flood horror series Heretics with Martin Simmonds (Department of Truth). Artist & co-creator Pearson has had work at Titan, 2000 AD, Vice Press, produced covers for Image’s Paradiso series and colours for the Image Comics original graphic novel Blue In Green, created by Ram V and Anand RK. He’s also the artist behind the excellent series with Owen Michael Johnson, Beast Wagon, (you can read more on that at the old FPI Blog.)
Having quickly read issue #1 just to prep this piece, I can tell you that it looks and reads incredibly well, with everything being set up perfectly for a nasty tale of horror and revenge, infused with political influence and cover-ups, something that Buchan included in this tale on the eve of Brexit, where Great Britain and Northern Ireland is about to leave the European Union at the end of 2020, not as a commentary on Brexit itself but a scathing attack on those holding political power who are, as he says, ‘profiting massively by dividing us’.
He continues… ‘You only need to look at our current government response to the COVID-19 pandemic to see evidence of huge contracts and sums of money being awarded to people and groups with no demonstrable ability to deliver the services they’re promising. The unifying factor behind people who are getting rich from the pandemic is that they all have personal connections to influential MPs, and that’s the nature of the world that Bood Moon is set in.’
He’s also fascinated by the idea of politics and folk horror overlapping, that idea of discovering that, ‘you’re surrounded by people who look like you, but don’t think like you’, something that’s become very obvious both here in the UK with Brexit and in the USA with Trump, the intense dichotomy of thinking, the increasing distance between the two sides in thought and deed.
As Buchan puts it, ‘The Brexit vote did that in a very real way, revealing people living alongside each other with priorities and viewpoints that seem alien to those who disagree with them. Brexit has created an atmosphere of distrust and division, changing the psychogeography of the UK. I can’t imagine any horror creator whose imagination wouldn’t be ignited by that feeling of being isolated in a community where tensions are being stirred and blame is apportioned to outsiders. I just wish we didn’t have to live through it.’
If you’re interested – and you should be – the first two issues of Blood Moon are available for free online at http://bloodmooncomic.com, with John Pearson’s Patreon subscribers given first access to see new pages before they’re later released more widely. PM Buchan is documenting the creative process, elaborating on the time, cost and collaboration involved in creating a comic-book like this through his newsletter at http://pmbuchan.substack.com.
Blood Moon – written by PM Buchan, art and colours by John Pearson, letterer Aditya Bidikar and editor Hannah Means-Shannon