“The Chair” is described on the back of the book as a “psychological thriller” and that’s exactly what it is. It’s pretty grim but it does not run off the rails into torture porn which it easily could have done so. All the elements are there: a creepy prison we always see in shadows, a series of disturbing events, a main character brought to the brink of insanity. But there is always more going on in this story than mere prison tropes. It’s an ambitious thing to attempt with such dark material but this story keeps us wondering all the way to the end.
Written by Peter Simeti, art by Simeti and Kevin Christensen, and edited by Erin Kohut, this is a story set in a very scary prison. We see it through the eyes of Richard Sullivan, a man who claims to be innocent of murdering children at a daycare center. In this prison, full of murderers and rapists of all stripes, Sullivan stands out as an especially vicious killer. And he knows that he’s been targeted for especially harsh treatment. He’s gotten steady abuse from the prison guards and all signs indicate there is worse yet to come. Sullivan has already seen worse meted out to other prisoners. It can’t be any less severe for him.
Christensen’s pencils perfectly capture the claustrophobic atmosphere. He hauntingly evokes the despair that Sullivan is going through. One set of panels that is striking comes after a series of scenes ranging in dark shadow to pitch black. Lest you forget where you are, there’s one full page dedicated to panels that depict the prison cells from various vantage points. They are rendered accurately and with a good dose of spooky.
“The Chair” is a 136 page, black & white trade paperback, priced at #13.95. And it will hit the movie screens in 2015. Visit our friends at Alterna Comics right here.