Written By: Che Grayson
Art By: Kelsey Ramsay
Colors By: Ronda Pattison
Letters By: Shawn Lee
Published By: IDW Publishing
Goods Deeds is from IDW Publishing and one of its “IDW Originals” titles. It is also a part of the “Scott Snyder Presents Dark Spaces” titles. Dark Spaces is an anthology series that goes into “… exploring our deepest fears of the unknown”. The series is meant to showcase the new generation of comics creators. Good Deeds is the second installment in the anthology series. This particular series is written by Che Grayson (Batman: Urban Legends) with art by Kelsey Ramsay (Joan Jett & the Black Hearts, I Love Rock-n-Roll). Let’s head South and get into this one.
Good Deeds is set in St. Augustine, FL. St. Augustine is the oldest city in the nation, so basing a horror/ghost story here is so appropriate. The story starts with reporter Jean McKnight looking to return to prominence as a big-deal journalist. McKnight travels to St. Augustine to do a puff piece for a former editor since her fall from grace five years ago. As she begins interviewing the town’s elders, ghostly visions plague her. The council of elders seems to be hiding something beneath the Southern charm and surface answers they give her. As Jean drowns her sorrows, she meets a man at the bar. After a night of passion, an emergency happens, and we find out the man is a cop. They both get dressed and head to the scene separately to find a ghastly crime scene.
We’re introduced to Cheyenne Collins and Rebecca Rite. They are a mother & daughter who have recently bought the Westway Diner from the Foster family. Cheyenne must be content with being the new kid in town, plus helping her Mother with the now-rechristened “Rite Way Diner.” At the school, Cheyenne and Jean cross paths. The duo has a pleasant conversation that the teen needs and McKnight gives the girl her card.
After closing the diner, Cheyenne is attacked by the Foster man who sold the restaurant to them. As she fights him off, a thick fog rolls into the room. Before we know it, he is dead, but it looks like an animal has devoured his body. Rebecca rushes in to console her daughter, and we’re left with a satisfying end to a predator but so many questions about what just happened to him.
Good Deeds is my introduction to Che Grayson, and it’s a grand one indeed. We get a seamless blend of the two stories from the perspective of Jean and Cheyenne. Using St. Augustine as a “haunted” place is fantastic. It almost feels like a silent character. The town has a rich history, and that history is stained in blood. Cheyenne is going through new kid bullying, but finding a friendly acquaintance in McKnight was a calming touch. Cheyenne rebuking the advances and later fighting off the attack of a creepy, older predator was a different kind of horror in this tale. It shows sometimes the humans are worse than the thing haunting your town.
Giving us two possible protagonists going through their individual journeys is a significant development that made me care more and fear for them in this series. I had an incredible feeling of hope seeing Rebecca with Cheyenne as they fixed up the diner. I don’t know the backstory of their arrival, but just like the diner, their lives are getting a fresh coat of paint.
The art of Kelsey Ramsay is right for St. Augustine. The lines feel like they were drawn on parchment to match the town’s age. The shadowy haunted visions Jean sees almost feel like a figment of your imagination instead of ghostly apparitions. Another thing that catches my attention is the eyes. The eyes are illustrated in a way that is like a town of microaggressions and ulterior motives, with a blend of sly intentions. Extremely captivating.
Ronda Pattinson’s color brings the heat and humidity to life. I lived in St. Augustine for over a year, and I thought I was seeing flashbacks of that summer. Both night & day feel dangerous for different reasons, which the colors highlight in different ways. Skin tone and hair color variety are crucial, especially when depicting Black/POC women and female-presenting characters.
The thing that immediately got my attention for this comic was the leads. Rarely do we get three or more leads of color in a horror/thriller comic. Seeing Jean, Cheyenne, and Rebecca grabbed my attention as an instant buy.
Good Deeds #1 is a tale of horror where I genuinely care about the protagonists. I fear for them with every turn of the page. If you can give me that kind of fright in the first issue… I’m all in.
Antonio Pomares is an Afro-Latinx show host/geek culture personality. Currently, he hosts “The Hungry Bleek Show”. An aspiring “geek polymath”, Pomares has an open mind to all of geek culture. Pomares is an avid T-shirt and coffee mug collector.