Preschool Panic In SCARENTHOOD #1

Nick Roche and Chris O’Halloran preview a new horror miniseries about the ways that having a child opens up new fears and makes old ones even worse.

Being a new parent is a lot like being the lead in a horror movie. You run around feeling lost and anxious, you need to perform tasks you’re totally unprepared for, and you never know when someone will start screaming at 3 am. In Scarenthood, the new horror comic from IDW Publishing, a single dad and his preschool pickup line group know that better than anyone… and that’s before the undead start showing up. Keep reading for an exclusive preview of the first issue, complete with commentary from co-creator Nick Roche.

Scarenthood #1 comes from writer/artist Nick Roche (Transformers: The Wreckers Saga), colorist Chris O’Halloran (Immortal Hulk), and letterer Shawn Lee (Usagi Yojimbo: Grasscutter Artist Select). Nick Roche crafted the main cover; the retailer incentive variant cover comes from Moon Knight artist Declan Shalvey. Scarenthood is planned as a four-part miniseries.

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The setting of Scarenthood is a typical Ireland suburb where work-at-home dad Cormac has enrolled his daughter Scooper in a Montessori preschool that was set up, without a hint of superstitious caution, in the rooms of an abandoned church hall. Cormac and three other bored parents begin to peek into those secrets, discovering horrors that no living soul should have to witness during school hours. The tension of the story doesn’t come from simple monsters, but from the heartfelt bonds each parent has with their children. When danger knocks for Cormac, it’s not his own life he worries about.

Here’s that exclusive preview of Scarenthood. Check out the commentary from Roche, who opens up the idyllic prologue to show readers how much of his own life has been woven into every panel.

ROCHE: The first character we see… is Rathdaggan Village Hall. It’s the setting for the most dramatic scenes in the series, and is literally constructed from the remains of some very old, very dark secrets. The PERFECT place to set up a pre-school. Cormac is the first human to feature — he’s the main character, and he’s sat here by the Scoopermobile; the yellow buggy his lazy-but-adorable daughter demands to be ferried-around in. (The noticeboard behind him contains paintings and artwork from my own two kids, but don’t tell them; their agents are SHARKS.)

ROCHE: Pulling out, we see who’s speaking; it’s Sinead, one of the other parents waiting for their child to finish up class. She’s talking to Flynno, full of bellicosity and BS. Watching on is Jen, a mother with itchy feet who’s a little trapped by her comfy domestic situation. It’s clear that these three know each other, and that Cormac is content to stay on his phone, avoiding contact. We moved around fairly often when my daughter was younger, and it was often tricky to jump into the established social flow of the other parents as I waited for her. But maybe, like me, Cormac is just using that as an excuse to keep to himself. (Note to readers: Please never fact-check Flynno too thoroughly.)

ROCHE: Mild conflict abounds, as the quiet Cormac has managed to burst the balloon of the alpha-goofball. This absolutely sets up their later dynamic and establishes Cormac as a vocal disbeliever of the rubbish Flynno spouts. The head of the pre-school, Rhona, debuts here, unleashing the children back onto their victims. Rhona is self-serving and glory-hungry, and I always feel bad for making her that way, because every Montessori teacher my kids had was always the most magical and caring person. But it’s a funny note for a character like her, and it sets up a little friction for later on. I had fun coming up with different looks for all the kids too, without resorting to the ‘Copy + Paste Cute Child’ action my old version of Photoshop has. They need to have as much of their own identity as the adults do, and I hope I set that up well.

ROCHE: I really wanted to establish that Cormac and Scooper adore each other. In fact, all the families featured in this series do; I needed to make it clear that all these parents are doing the very best they can for their kids. So that when their normality becomes threatened, the contrast in their behaviour will be more noticeable… But all’s not perfect at home with Cormac and Scooper, and it’s clear at least one element of homelife is making their absence felt…

IDW Publishing’s Scarenthood #1 will release on November 11, 2020, at local comics shops and digital providers like Comixology.

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Updated: November 10, 2020 — 6:47 pm

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