Out now from Humanoids Publishing is Nicnevin and the Bloody Queen, a story that follows a series of murders in rural England, which might not seem like the sort of thing that would interest a surly teenager, but Nicnevin Oswald has no idea that she’s at the center of a story that stretches back centuries and places her in grave danger.
Nicnevin — Nissy, for short — is the kind of teen who resents even being in rural England in the first place, not that it does her any good when her family relocates for a vacation. Her new locale brings her into a world of druids, magical thinking, and murders — all of which have far more connection to her than she can imagine. But will she realize the truth behind what’s going on before it’s too late?
Part-folk horror, part-murder mystery, Nicnevin is written by Helen Mullane who is best known as the producer of documentary Future Shock!: The Story of 2000 AD, and features art by 2000 AD veteran Dom Reardon and Matthew Dow Smith, with a cover by Wytches and The Batman Who Laughs’ Jock.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the series creator and writer Helen Mullane said:
“I love folk horror, I have done since way before I could define the genre. I’m interested in how difficult it can be to exist in your family during those intense years in your early and mid-teens when you’re desperate to already be who you know you’re becoming, and progress seems unbearably slow. Nissy has a fraught relationship with her mother, who she just sees her as a malignant spirit trying to curtail her freedom, but we see her mum trying to connect with her again and again. Similarly, her brother offers her his companionship throughout the story, but Nissy is too much in her head to pay him any attention. So Nissy is not a hero, far from it. She’s just a young girl who’s found herself stuck in this crazy situation and would much rather be spending the summer on the lash and having fun with her mates.”
Series artists Dom Reardon told The Hollywood Reporter:
“Some places seem to store history as if it’s recorded into the landscape. When you go to a place like this, you can feel the weight of the things that have happened there, the people, the beliefs. We wanted to try to capture some of this feeling with The Bloody Queen. All this is seen through Nissy’s eyes, and I hope people reading this will like Nissy and want to spend time with her. I just tried to make her emote and move around in a characterful but relatable way. Helen and I both love this genre; we knew the kind of thing we wanted it to be right from the beginning. It’s horror; it’s folklore, it’s rural locations and also it’s character-driven, that’s the idea.”
Matthew Down Smith, who is sharing art duties with Reardon on the series had this to say about the project:
“I grew up on all the same things Helen and Dom did, so it was such an easy thing to just step into when they asked me to join them. Lots of shadows, lots of skeletal trees, lots of desolate landscapes. I couldn’t ask for more evocative things to draw and a better story to tell. This is exactly the kind of comic I love — moody, textured, and not afraid to challenge the audience. And as a life long fan of British horror, I just couldn’t resist this one.”
Jock, who is provided the cover for the series said about the project:
“This has been the perfect project for me to dig into after working on Wytches. Helen and Dom are old friends of mine, and when they told me about their idea, I was immediately onboard. It’s a haunting story told with brilliant art. Fans of perfectly pitched horror would do well to check it out.”
Read on for a preview of what Nissy is leaving behind as she heads to her summer home:
The book, published by Humanoids, is available now.
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