“Let’s draw an adventure!”
When it’s done well, situational horror has the power to chill like almost nothing else. This four-panel black and white comic is filled with the sort of quiet, slowly escalating situational dread that I love best.
In Megan Brennan‘s Pencil Pup, an unnamed young woman awakens in a strange realm where drawings can become real. I discovered the comic some time ago while randomly surfing, and went into it blind. I’ve been a huge fan ever since.
At first, I thought this was going to be a sort of Harold’s Purple Crayon for grown-ups…but what if Harold were surrounded by art-obsessed animals who refused to let him go home?
The setting is controlled (and was possibly created) by the eponymous puppy, and everyone around him works like hell to stay in his good graces. It’s reminiscent of It’s a Good Life. Although no one’s been wished into the cornfield yet, you just know there’s a fate worse than hastily sketched props waiting for those who incur Pencil Pup’s wrath.
Also, Pencil Pup has perpetually sharpened pencils for limbs. Which is wonderful. As far as I’m concerned, the fact he never needs a sharpener is almost as impressive a superpower as creating an entire universe from scratch paper.
Clicking here or on the image above will take you to the first page. The strip’s only gone a little over 125 installments so far, so you’ll be able to read this one in a couple of hours. It’s time well spent, although if you have kids the little doodles in the margins of their notebooks will seem ominous for a while afterward. Pencil Pup is a charming, surreal webcomic with a fantastic Creep Factor; I highly recommend it.
Pencil Pup minicomics are also available in Megan’s online store. They are even cuter and creepier in real life, and they make great stocking stuffers for those nieces and nephews who need a little weirdness in their lives.
PS, if you haven’t read It’s a Good Life, you can do that here. And you should; it’s creepy as hell. The link above is to the Twilight Zone episode (on Hulu). Although the TV adaptation was excellent, the story is even better.