Something is Killing the Children 101

by Alan Harper

102021B-300x157 Something is Killing the Children 101If you haven’t heard of Something is Killing the Children, well, then you must have been living under a rock. The series has exploded since it debuted in 2019, but what’s in store for its future?

Two Things To Know

You need to know two things about Something is Killing the Children (SIKC), the series by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’edera. 1 –  it is awesome, and 2 –  it is coming to Netflix.  We can talk more in a minute, but feel free to stop right now and go to your preferred comic buying venue and get some of these books – now.  I’ll wait … Ok.  Good work.  Great comic investments require great story elements, great artwork, and high demand (often related to the first two).  SIKC has it all.

SIKC-1-194x300 Something is Killing the Children 101Yes Virginia, There Are Monsters.

Tynion has written a concept that is so familiar – unseen monsters are killing children – and yet it feels entirely unique.  The writing nails pacing, dialogue, and character development.  The excellent writing lets us know these characters in just a few panels.

Erica Slaughter, our protagonist, is a petite blond girl who looks perpetually exhausted.  She is the type of person who tells it to you straight and also has the ability to kick butt with a chain saw. It is easy to understand why this was nominated for the Best New Series Eisner Award in 2020.

Battle scenes often seem to have become the reason some books exist. It isn’t unusual to pick up a Marvel or DC book and enjoy page after page of beautiful action scenes.  But in SIKC, the battles often happen ‘off-screen,’ which is a fantastic storytelling and artistic choice.  Don’t misunderstand me, there are plenty of graphic scenes, but the storytelling team focuses on the emotions and tension leading up to the battle and the fallout afterward more than the bloodbath itself.

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In the Time of Masks.

Great artwork is a very subjective thing. The artwork by Dell’edera is gritty and realistic. My favorite artistic element is Erica’s mask.  We have all spent the last two years dealing with masks. Erica’s is unforgettable and makes an amazing cover art showpiece, perfect for grading and hanging.

Anecdotally, I have polled everyone I can about the first issue variant covers – everyone has a different second favorite and everyone also has one clear favorite – the Jenny Frison variant.  If you haven’t already bought it, you will want to check current pricing, adjust your budget accordingly and reconsider.

BOOM! And Then There is Netflix

Netflix has a first-look deal with Boom! Studios, the publisher of SIKC.  They have announced that the series should be ready by the end of 2022, but we do not know casting choices.  Tynion and Dell’edera are staying on as executive producers, which is encouraging.

A lot can go wrong on the way to movie adaptation (insert your own bad memory here – maybe Ender’s Game or Ready Player One but certainly Dark Phoenix – oh, so disappointing). What is certain is that there will be lots of hype over the next year.

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The inevitable comparison to Stranger Things

There will be no escaping constant comparisons to the amazing Stranger Things franchise.  Both storylines deal with battling unseen monsters who are killing the neighborhood kids. Stranger Things has become a cultural phenomenon.  Is there any chance SIKC will live up to the comparison?  Unlikely, but possible. PT Barnum famously said, “There is no such thing as bad publicity,” so even if it doesn’t create the buzz of Stranger Things, I expect the awareness from just the comparison to draw new readers, investors, and collectors.

Does that mean it isn’t worth owning?  Not at all.  Netflix may not have a Disney-esque track record of delivery yet, but they did a fantastic job bringing Umbrella Academy to the small screen, making it one of the most-streamed series of 2019.  I hope they can deliver again.  If you own this series, expect some valuation movement on the announcement of who will be cast as Erica Slaughter.

Buy, Sell the Hype, or Hold On – It’s All Good

The safest investment will be to get the best quality Frison variant #1 and plan to sell the hype as it builds.  The best gamble is to buy now and hold all the way through the launch of the first Netflix season.

Sales prices for the original cover of the inaugural book have been fluctuating over the last year. Currently, the one-year sales average is $866. The 90-day average soared up to $1,090, but the 30-day has settled back down at $888.

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Jenny Frison Variant Sales Over Time

The Jenny Frison variant has been hovering in the mid-high $300s for a little while now.

These prices are down from the $500-range the book was commanding in May, which makes this a good time to grab a copy if you find one in your range. If you haven’t gone shopping yet, now is the time.

As fans and collectors, this will be a story and book that any of us should be happy to have hanging on our wall.

What covers of Something is Killing the Children are YOU collecting? Tell us in the comments!

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