This is sad to admit, but I'm sort of a sucker for paranormal reality television. Along with knowing all of the one-liners from the movie, "Mean Girls", shitty low budget paranormal shows are one of my guilty pleasures. Over the last several months, I've really enjoyed reading each issue of Hoax Hunters, following Jack, Regan, Ken, and Murder on whatever hilariously twisted paranormal story that they try and cover up. This flip book issue with special guest artist, Brent Schoonover (Mr. Murder is Dead) has been my favorite so far. When I chose Hoaxed Hunters #9 to review, I hadn't read any previews or read Image's May solicitations so I had no idea what I was in for. Not knowing anything about this issue made the experience of reading it even more exciting to see what the creative team had come up with.
On this "episode" of Hoax Hunters, the gang is investigating the haunted Laramie Home where 20 years ago a newlywed couple was murdered, and their 6 year old daughter was never found. During the first few minutes of taping, Jack becomes ill, the EMF reader that Ken is using reports a high spike in activity then completely dies, and Regan notices that the walls are bleeding; seems like the Hoax Hunters really have their work cut out for them. The page ends with a black panel that has the Hoax Hunters logo at the bottom as if it were being broadcasted on tv and they were about to pause for a commercial. To my surprise when I turned the page, there is a commercial for Revival! Yes, Revival by the great Tim Seeley.
After they come back from the break the investigation continues and so do the paranormal events. As an added bonus there are two more Image titles that have their own commercials but you're going to have to buy the issue to find out which two. Page 17 is where writers, Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley, turn up the awesome to 11. The book now has to be flipped upside down and read in reverse. This was a particularly unique way of finishing the back half of the issue because now the reader not only gets to read the story all the way through without the "commercial breaks", but you also get to see all the paranormal events that took place and how the crew covers them up.
Since this was a flip book issue there are two covers, both by Joe Elsma (Morning Glories). The first cover shows the cast of Hoax Hunters, with the exclusion of Murder, standing in front of the house that they are about to investigate, as if it were a promo picture for the show. When you flip over the issue and finish the story the second cover has the cast getting ready to fight against a possessed little girl who's as big as the house that they're investigating. As for the interior art, guest artist, Brent Schoonover, does a stand up job of capturing what a haunted house investigation should look like in a comic. Schoonover uses a variety of close ups, high angle, and wide angle panels to make it seem as if you were watching everything play out on TV. Rosario Costanzo brings everything together with the different shades of blue, black, and pale greens to really capture the cold feeling that you would expect from a creepy old house.
After two previous story arcs this turned out to be a really fun and enjoyable read that is perfect as a stand-alone issue. If you've been on the fence about this series or just looking for something new to add to your weekly pull list, then this would be a great jumping on point because it’s set up more as a zero issue or a one shot. Unless you are planning on reading Hoax Hunters Case Files #1, the first annual of the series, then you really don't want to miss out since Image has not announced a release date for issue #10.
Writers: Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley
Artist: Brent Schoonover
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: 4/17/13