Writer: Aaron Douglas
Artist: Cliff Richards
Colorist: Guy Major
what’s it about?
Inspired by true events, this eerie prison story combines the supernatural with the suspenseful in a wicked tale of revenge from beyond the grave inside a prison’s walls. Writer Aaron Douglas said, “This is a story born out of an experience I had as a young boy with one of my uncles and my dad. I snuck to a spot in the house to listen to my uncle relate his tale to my dad. It confused and terrified me at the time, and to this day I still have a very creepy feeling inside when I tell it to people. I think it is a fascinating story and whenever I tell it, people are enthralled and I want to share it with a wider audience. I hope this can achieve that.”
Douglas is a tremendous talent and must be protected at all costs! I often criticize books for their overreliance on exposition boxes, yet this one-shot is told almost entirely through them and I was captivated from the beginning. 10 Years to Death would’ve made for a perfect Tales from the Crypt episode. At one point I thought to myself, “This is the perfect story to tell around a campfire,” and within pages, one of the characters asks the other to start a fire. Needless to say, I was a tad creeped out by the coincidence. Aftershock is creating an excellent library of some of the best non-superhero books on the shelves. 10 Years to Death is what you get when you let your talents’ voices get heard.
While the ghost story puts shivers down my spine, the art, masterfully created by Cliff Richards, does not. Richards does a stellar job rendering the world that the story occupies, but the feeling of dread and suspense created by Douglas’ story is not echoed in the panels themselves, which are often bland and nondescript. I found myself rereading a page or series of panels to get a better understanding of the story. This is one of those cases where a talented writer and an equally talented artist’s visions don’t gel well together.