Monday, February 2, 2015

The Registry of Death

   The Registry of Death is a 56 page graphic novel by Australian artists Matt Coyle and Peter Lamb published by Kitchen Sink Press in 1995.  I first ran across it in Mid-Ohio Con in the late 90s during my routine excavations into the dollar bins - a particularly favorite activity of mine. If ever I thought that I had gotten a great bargain, it was when I snatched this up for 50 cents. it remains one of my favorite horror comics ever.

 It is a different book from your standard graphic novel, mostly consisting of single panel illustrations with captions at the bottom of the page. The pictures are bold, brutal, and mixed with traces of cold antiseptic cleanliness. They aren't explicit, but an anger and viciousness underlies each of the them. Everything is a little bit off in these illustrations (by design), every face is twisted ever so slightly, as if their souls had been stripped away and only the beast remained. The images are haunting and stay with you long after you're finished with the book.

The story is simple. A man, who works for the Registry of Death as an eliminator, now finds himself targeted by that group, seemingly out of nowhere. He has to strive the onslaughts of his former colleagues, a group of unrepentant sociopaths, as he tries to figure out the truth.

The book is simple, yet within it I find a complexity. Every time I read this book, I see something new. It's an overlooked masterpiece that stays with you for a long time afterward.

Buy it here