Ice Cream Man Sundae Edition Volume One

Ice Cream Man Sundae Edition Volume One
Ice Cream Man Sundae Edition Volume One review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Image Comics - 978-1-5343-2182-3
  • Volume No.: 1
  • Release date: 2022
  • UPC: 9781534321823
  • Contains adult content?: yes
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes
  • CATEGORIES: Conceptual, Drama, Horror

Ice Cream Man is an existential horror series titled after the Ice Cream Man seen in most stories, seemingly pleasant, but actually a malign tormentor. In what are the earliest stories of what’s a magnificent series W. Maxwell Prince is attempting to build a mythology, but as Prince becomes more confident in telling his stories he settles on more human horror not requiring a demonic prod. It leaves the Ice Cream Man fading into primarily pleasing cameo roles.

Prince teams with artist Martín Morazzo, who takes Prince’s disturbing scripts and renders something beautiful, with Chris O’Halloran’s thoughtful colouring rounding off the package. Whether the scene is something seen every day or a monstrous presence it’s drawn with the same appealing delicacy. Whereas other artists would interpret the unsettling scripts with darkness, Morazzo largely discards shadow to provide light. For this collection much occurs in a world not far removed from the horrors concealed behind the carpeted lawns and white picket fences seen in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, and it’s beautifully supplied. Just look at the sample art.

That’s from ‘Ballad of a Falling Man’ and it exemplifies Prince using the series to explore not just horror, but different forms of storytelling. This is the dark cousin to Will Eisner’s Spirit story about a guy who could fly, as the narrative is that of a man who’s flung himself from the top of a skyscraper. He considers his life, and we read his confessions as he counts off the floors until ground level. We’re not told why he’s committing suicide, but are shown that within the tower block horrors are loose, and others are attempting to escape. “I’ve been completely indiscriminate about my love and its transmission to others” he notes in one the many finely phrased pieces of dialogue found throughout the collection. Looking back from where the series progressed, it’s a midway step, the horror not explained, but the purpose being the exploration of the people.

There may be some feeling of the final stories lacking the novelty and inspiration characterising the earlier material. Prince delivers a couple of Westerns, and an SF exploration, but it’s only a razor sharp satirical slash at reality TV matching the quality of the remainder. It’s partially because Prince is still toying with the idea of supplying a background for the Ice Cream Man before realising it’s not required. Don’t depart thinking he’s run out of ideas, as this is but a temporary blip and Volume Two comes back strongly.

If you’re not entirely convinced, try one of the paperbacks, Rainbow Sprinkes, Neopolitan Surprise or Hopscotch Mélange.