Review - Sleeping with Ghosts #1

"If this place doesn't have something supernatural, nowhere will."

Ghost hunting will always be a thing. While it won't always have media attention drawn to it or endless reality shows, there are still those out there seeking to contact the supernatural for whatever reason. Sebastian Fletcher is one of those individuals in Sleeping with Ghosts #1. The issue is written by Damian S. Simankowicz, illustrated by Marcelo Salaza and colored by Mike Stefan.

Jaded ghost hunter Sebastian Fletcher meets his match when he arrives at the Hotel Avira and discovers that the dead not only haunt the hotel, but want his soul too!

The premise behind Sleeping with Ghosts #1 is definitely the road less traveled in comics as Simankowicz is focusing on a ghost hunter and his disillusionment with the work. Simankowicz struggles a bit, however, in presenting Sebastian as a uniformly believable character. There are points in the issue where the dialogue feels a little too forced, as if Simankowicz feels the reader won't pick up on a subtle theme being presented. The plot itself is pretty intriguing, as Simankowicz offers a hotel that has more than enough spirits to go around as a setting for a jaded ghost hunter to rediscover his love for the supernatural. And the ending of the issue definitely sets up more questions, with Simankowicz turning his focus to the truly devious nature of the hotel.

Salaza illustrates the book with a sense of detachment--appropriately fitting for a book about ghosts. None of the characters seem to inhabit the space they're shown traversing as Salaza illustrates them as if they're placed on top of the scenery. This works for the ghosts, but it does lead to some rather awkward looking poses for Sebastian in particular that don't feel very natural. The panels are laid out in a grid that's simple to follow although it might have been more appealing visually to mix up the layouts a bit to demonstrate the somewhat erratic nature of spirits. Stefan's colors are darker and provide the appropriate mood for a haunted hotel as the bluish hue of the spirits pop nicely.

Sleeping with Ghosts #1 takes some of the supernatural elements of The Shining and softens them up a bit. Sebastian is searching for the supernatural and is about to call it quits until he discovers something at the Hotel Avira. Simankowicz's script is straightforward and gets right to it, even if the motivations for Jared are a little murky. Salaza's artwork is simple in its presentation, demonstrating the ethereal nature of many of the hotel's guests well. Sleeping with Ghosts #1 feels a little uneven as the first issue unfolds, but the reveal at the end does pose some interesting questions.

Sleeping with Ghosts #1 is available now.