Imagine, you are one of seventy-two children enlisted in a school of black magic for seven years to find out only seven walk out…oh and this school is devoid of the sun. That is what we get in Seven Years In Darkness.
The first issue of Joseph Schmalke‘s Seven Years In Darkness released in June. Limited to roughly 4,000 copies, the book is a deviation from his normal avenue of release. He self-published issue one. Joe has typically released his books via his Black Caravan imprint at Scout Comics.
Schmalke is writing, drawing and coloring the comic with lettering by Joel Rodriguez. Joe’s go-to editor Shawn French is also on board. This book is Schmalke’s baby, which is something you can see on the pages.
From the outset, this book proves to be a passion project. The story, lines and colors are nearly perfect. Seven Years In Darkness stands well above Schmalke’s other horror books such as We Don’t Kill Spiders and Electric Black, and that is saying something.
Schmalke uses limited colors such as black, orange, red and tan to start the book out, as the climate gets colder the colors move to whites, blues and blacks and finally neons when we begin to see the Academy of Black Magic in the darkness.
The story will take time to tell, but you’ll want to follow along after reading the first issue. You will care about the characters between the covers and the art will blow you away. Not to mention the cover of the book is simple, elegant and has a unique finish.
Around 10 stores jumped on board for store exclusive covers, including Galactic Comics and Collectibles (along with Capes and Tights), The One Stop Shop, and the Australian shop Dee’s Comics.
The Capes and Tights store exclusive cover, by artist Bob Tkacik, can be purchased online. Regular exclusive and metal covers available.
SIYD will eventually find a home with a publisher to help distribute the book into more hands, until then grab a copy from the limited shops carrying the book or join Schmalke’s Patreon to get the book before anyone else, plus more perks.
To finish up, Seven Years In Darkness is simply Schmalke’s best work yet. Can’t wait to see what he does next in issue two.