Who wasn’t excited, as a kid growing up, to hear the magical chimes of the neighborhood ice cream man as he drove up your street with frozen treats? Running outside with the change you begged from your parents, you went to see this magical man who brought you a frozen piece of happiness. But what if that ice cream man was hiding a secret? What if he were not as friendly and sweet as he seems? What if there was something more sinister that you cannot see beyond your line of vision?
The concept of the friendly stranger with a dark secret is a commonly explored trope in horror stories, of course, yet the base idea being applied to the image of an ice cream man is oddly frequent. In the original Nightmare On Elm Street films, Freddy Krueger, after losing his job as a high-school janitor but before becoming the demon we know, had planned to become an ice cream man who would use the job as a new means of getting close to his victims. Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes presented us with a sinister peddler of frozen treats. There’s even a 1995 cult horror film starring Clint Howard as a killer ice cream man called The Ice Cream Man! Now, Image Comics continues this tradition with their new comic-book horror-series, Ice Cream Man.
Ice Cream Man is a loving tribute to the days of EC Comics’ creations like Tales From The Crypt and The Vault of Horror. Writer W. Maxwell Prince joins with artists Martin Morazzo and Chris O’Halloran to deliver a new anthology horror series that brings us a cast of characters that look as sweet and cheerful as the treats the titular Ice Cream Man sells. Yet like David Lynch’s classic film Blue Velvet, we quickly learn that even the most pleasant of towns have pockets of darkness and danger and that madness lies just around the block.
If this first issue is a shape of things to come, then horror comic fans are in for one incredible treat. This comic is an enigma that grabs your attention, much like a double scoop ice cream cone with sprinkles delivered lickety-split…..just like the Ice Cream Man does it.
The art style has a cool, retro feel to it, yet it feels fresh as well. The story, brief though it is, will keep you guessing and, like a good ice cream treat, leave you satisfied yet wanting more. You’ll be anxious for the next issue, ready to press forward to see exactly what this Ice Cream Man’s purpose truly is. This one is gonna stay on my radar for a while, and I hope other horror fans – even the ones who don’t usually read comics – will feel the same way.
Ice Cream Man #1 goes on sale on January 17, 2018. Reserve it now on Comixology.