Thanks to IDW Publishing for the review copy!
Stephen King, the master of horror, is back with a new comic titled SLEEPING BEAUTIES, based on a book he wrote with his son Owen King. I have the advantage (or disadvantage) of coming to this comic fresh, not having read the book. While adaptations of King’s work into TV and movies have been hit or miss, the Marvel Comics versions of The Stand and The Dark Tower have been excellent.
The main thrust of the story surrounds a mysterious woman, a women’s prison, and police investigating what the mystery woman is up to. It’s too early to say whether they are the main characters, but a husband (the prison psychologist) and wife (police officer) are given the most attention in the issue. Meanwhile, a mysterious sleeping sickness is referenced in the background that only effects women. While the novel was written in 2017, the sickness and how it is revealed really resonates given the world’s current battle against COVID-19. It is an interesting concept, and i’m curious to see where SLEEPING BEAUTIES takes it. In particular, I’m interested in seeing how the world reacts to the predicament and perhaps what is behind it. Hopefully, it is more than just ‘a monster that causes things to happen’ which is a frequent device relied on by Stephen King.
While things do happen in this issue, they are somewhat out of context so far. This issue is more of a table setter – establishing the world, the characters, and the tone of the series. I get the sense that the events of this issue will make more sense after reading future issues. The art is kind of trippy, almost impressionistic, with a muted color palette. It definitely gives off a creepy vibe. Even the speech bubbles and lettering are kind of unsettling.
The thing about the best Stephen King stories is they grab you and make you want to keep reading. That can be a challenge in a serial format, so thus far, I have to grade Sleeping Beauties ‘incomplete.’ I am definitely interested in learning more about the illness and how it impacts the world. This series has a lot of potential, and I’m looking forward to reading future issues to see if it delivers on that promise. It probably goes without saying given Stephen King is involved, but parental discretion is advised. There’s some curse words, the briefest of nudity, and violence.
SLEEPING BEAUTIES #1 comes out this week (June 23rd, 2020).
Are you going to pick up this title? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.