The Deviant #1 Advance Review: It’s Beginning To Creep A Lot Like Christmas

The Deviant #1 advance review header

James Tynion IV is back in the horror game with The Deviant #1, with art by Joshua Hixson. What did we think of this messed-up Christmas present from Image Comics?

We reviewed the book on the Stack podcast. But in the interest of highlighting more about the title, here’s a summary of the conversation with our thoughts. And if you prefer the longer audio version, that’s below as well!

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The Deviant #1 Advance Review:

Decades earlier, a man dressed as Santa Claus mutilated children. Decades later, a young writer interviews the killer in jail, wrestling with his own feelings and troubles. And then, of course, the past catches up to them.

Host Alex Zalben called this, “the perfectly awful Christmas present from James Tynion IV. A creepy, terrifying read in the mode of The Closet. And Joshua Hixson’s design for the main killer character is terrifying.”

Pete LePage went further, saying, “It’s a f**king nightmare… I love the art style, I love the panels, the pace of it… A perfect creepy Christmas.”

Justin Tyler agreed and noted that he was impressed by Hixson’s use of, “stark, wide-panel” storytelling. “It is true horror.”

Thematically, Zalben was impressed by what Tynion IV pulls off in the issue, as it’s “a very interesting exploration… of his own sexuality, and him as a comic book writer… There’s an interesting line they walk in terms of how we fetishize serial killers.”

Zalben also discussed how Tynion IV very carefully walks the line between discussing LGBTQ+ sexual awakening, versus how the public often associates perfectly normal sexual feelings with deviant behavior (per the title of the book). “[There are] a lot of complicated concepts that he’s dealing with here that I think are really fascinating… Frankly and responsibly written… There are so many ways that it could go wrong at absolutely any point. JT4 is a very smart writer, so he does not… This is 100%, put this on your must-list. Go to the comic book shop, tell them to get it for you because this is going to be huge.”

The Deviant #1 hits comic book stores on November 15, 2023, from Image Comics.

The Deviant #1 Official Synopsis:

As snow falls over Milwaukee in 1972, a blood-stained Santa Claus commits unimaginable atrocities against young men. Fifty years later, a troubled young writer interviews this so-called “Deviant Killer,” who still maintains his innocence from behind bars. And as Christmas approaches once again, the past returns, wielding a sharpened ax. Eisner-winning writer JAMES TYNION IV (W0RLDTR33, THE DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH) and acclaimed artist JOSHUA HIXSON (The Plot, Children of the Woods) unite for a pitch-black holiday horror story.

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