The trope of monster hunters with unexpected day jobs is practically as old as the monster hunter subgenre itself. But in Vault’s Door to Door, Night by Night, we get to see a subversion of the trope that makes it work better than almost any other example I could think of.
Cullen Bunn, Sally Cantirino, Dee Cunniffe, and Andworld Design hit the road in this new horror series.
Max is a down on her luck woman on the road. When she hitches a ride on her way into West Virginia, she finds herself joining the troupe of traveling sales people. The group has no idea though that she has an ulterior motive for traveling into the small town plagued by an outbreak of missing children- an ulterior motive that may change everyone’s life.
Bunn is skilled at writing horror- it’s what he’s best at. He’s even cornered the market on rural horror set in the American South. With this book he breaks into Appalachia as well, and creates a world that’s only just removed from our own. Though this issue is centered around Maxine, the rest of the group is clearly well rounded- Bunn uses cliche and tropes to give us a starting point, and then give us just enough to show that there’s a real person behind the sketch.
Where this issue stands out- story wise- is subverting the monster hunter subgenre. This isn’t a story about a monster killer, out for blood. Instead, our sales team has no idea monsters are real until Max tries to take revenge on one. They’re clumsy, sloppy and nearly mess it up. But this isn’t an origin story either- it’s a story about real, broken people who are trying to put their lives together, but then get thrown into the fantastic. And I really enjoyed it for that.
Cantirino is the perfect storyteller to draw this story. She has a style that’s slightly more indie and cartoony, which helps us connect with the characters more. She humanizes the leads quickly, and keeps the figures and backgrounds clear. It makes her storytelling stand out as she builds the story and characters. I also enjoyed that the layouts stayed fairly rigid until the first monster (a gross monstrosity with a great design) attacks the team.
Cunniffe’s colors are a huge part of what makes the story work too. His use of reds builds tension through the story, until the monster fight is dominated by them. I also like how well he sets the scene with tonal palettes. It’s good color work, especially in a horror story.
This is a great kick-off to a story that I’ll be interested to see build and grow from here.
Door to Door, Night by Night #1 is available now from Vault Comics.
A new horror launch delivers on its promise and more. The writing is interesting and engaging, and the art is eye catching. This is absolutely worth picking up.