Comic Book Investing Guide: Something is Killing the Children Vol. 1

June 15, 2023

Image courtesy Major Spoilers/FB. Variant art cover by Jenny Frison.

Comic books have always been a metaphor and narrative analog-driven mirror of society and the current zeitgeist. To pretend otherwise is silly. If you pretend to hate politics in comic books it’s only because the comic doesn’t mirror your own. There is a comic book called Captain Confederacy about a superhero in a world where the C.S.A. won the American Civil War – and it wasn’t written for the “woke.” The point is that comic books as a medium have always been political and challenged societal norms – it is something you must keep in mind when reading Something is Killing the Children Vol. 1.

Something is Killing the Children Vol. 1(September 2019)

  • Published by BOOM Studios
  • Writer: James Tynion IV
  • Artist: Wetther Dell’Edera
  • Colorist: Andworld Design
  • Lettering: Tom Orzechowski
  • Cover Price: $10.88 USD at Amazon

Something is Killing the Children Vol.1 is an independent comic book written by openly gay and fan-favorite writer James Tynion IV and artist Werther Dell’Edera. It’s about child-killing monsters and monster-hunting secret societies. But it is ostensibly about the human condition, the moral decay of American society, and how irresponsible and indifferent parents fail their children when they need them the most.

Be warned – this is a horror comic book that features grotesque depictions of children being killed by monsters. It’s disturbing. But that is just the tip of the iceberg narrative. This book is really about how human beings fail each other and live with regret in the aftermath.

I highly recommend that you read Something is Killing the Children Vol. 1, which is a trade paperback that collects the first five issues of the series. The series was originally envisioned as a 5-part miniseries but was upgraded to an ongoing series due to its popularity.

If you are into buying solo comic book issues then I would recommend buying Something is Killing the Children #1. But it might be too late if you’re playing with scared money. The comic has exploded in popularity and even spawned spinoff series. The comic book was published in 2019, the first issue is now worth hundreds of dollars on the collectibles market.

Here is everything you need to know about Something is Killing the Children Vol.1.

First Appearance of Something is Killing the Children

Something is Killing the Children #1 (September 2019) BOOM! Studios

Brief Bio and History: Something is Killing the Children Vol. 1

The story in Something is Killing the Children Vol. 1 is set in a fictional middle-America town called Archer’s Peak, Wisconsin. Nine children have disappeared without a trace and the police have no idea who is doing it – they think a rabid bear is committing the crimes.

In the opening pages, we meet James, an in-the-closet middle school student who is playing truth or dare with some of his friends at a sleepover. He makes a dare for the group to go into the woods to find a fictional monster he made up – but all the kids get slaughtered except for James.

Soon afterward, James has become a town pariah and scapegoat for his open-secret sexuality and for being a suspect. James is then approached by Erica Slaughter, a mysterious and kick-ass monster hunter who was commissioned by a secret society of monster hunters to hunt down and kill the child-killing monsters.

There is a well-meaning police chief who is in over his head – he doesn’t trust Slaughter but suspects she may be the only one who could help. James and Erica are also hounded by Tommy, a local diner manager whose young sister disappeared weeks earlier. 

Tommy thinks Erica and James are involved in the killings and starts his own investigation. 

Meanwhile, scores of Lovecraftian monsters lurk in the nearby woods and caves. They regularly hunt children as a food source.

The monsters can only be seen by children – they are utterly invisible to adults. Erica Slaughter and her monster-hunting society use a special process that allows the young woman to be able to see monsters. 

Finally, all of the local townspeople, grieving parents, surviving relatives, and gossiping and scapegoating townspeople, are all trying to make sense of the horror. They scapegoat children who survive the horror, like James, blame each other, and wallow in misery.

Erica Slaughter, a comic book heroine struck in the mold of sci-fi movie heroes like Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor seems to be the only hope for Archer’s Peak, Wisconsin – but even she has her own dark secrets. 

The Review: Something is Killing the Children Vol. 1

As I previously mentioned, Something is Killing the Children Vol.1 is a horror comic. You will find vivid and horrific depictions of children being killed in this comic book. If the thought makes you queasy, then this is not the comic book for you.

But to focus on that aspect is to miss the forest for the trees. Yes, it is sensationalist. This book is macabre. It is a gory sci-fi horror book.

But it is also partly a commentary on the human condition vis-a-vis small-town America. There are over a billion true crime documentaries on TV and they always feature a crime in small-town America where someone says that the town is perfect, they never lock their doors, and the town lost its innocence, crime never happens there, and everyone is shocked that the non-descript normal looking neighbor committed a heinous crime.

Tynion IV and Dell’Edera craft a masterpiece horror story here that asks if small-town Americana is so perfect, why is it so flawed like anywhere else?

After the children go missing, the grieving townspeople of Archer’s Peak are depicted as normal with flawed lives, wallowing in regret or delusional, or gossiping and scapegoating to cope. Heartland America is not full of “real Americans” who epitomize what it means to be a true American – these are small towns full of flawed people just like anywhere else. 

This comic features themes like: 

  • Fear of the other
  • Scapegoating
  • Anti-LGBTQIA hatred and fearmongering
  • Alienation
  • Small town politics
  • Apathy and alienation

I think the monsters in the story are metaphors or narrative analogs to the damage caused to children by bigoted, indifferent, and irresponsible parents in America in the real world.

A character named Tommy has a sister who disappeared early in the story. His mother falls into near catatonic grief. The estranged father is a drunk who lies naked in his home forgetting the world. If this is the dynamic now, what was it like before the children went missing?

Other adults grieve and drink to numb the pain, talking about their missing children as if they were idyllic characters in a Hallmark family film.

Meanwhile, James, a young middle-schooler who is in the closet, is being harassed by fellow students. They mock James for being queer and scapegoat him as the killer of multiple missing children. And these are the children of the parents of this small town – where did they develop their mindsets and ideologies?

Adults can’t see the child-killing monsters, but I think it’s commentary by the creators on how parents sometimes can’t see their children until it’s too late. Having children means sacrificing time, finances and being as selfless as possible – it’s a thankless job. And that is not the fault of the children, who didn’t ask to be born.

Damaged people unable to express their feelings for each other, financially care for themselves, or take personal accountability for their actions probably should not have children – or at least wait until they mature a little.

In the same way that the adults can’t see these children-eating monsters, could they really see their children before the carnage began? Or were they too busy sending them to school and pretending they didn’t exist so they could grieve over their lost opportunities and personal failings instead of appreciating family? 

Even the police won’t believe it had anything to do with monsters. They think a rabid bear did it – until they begin scapegoating some of the townspeople themselves. 

Erica Slaughter is one of the coolest comic book characters to be created in recent years. Killing the monsters and making the townspeople she encounters understand they are not perfect and don’t have all of these answers makes Erica a very relatable character. But even Erica is not perfect – she has a dark past of her own. 

The Positive

This comic book is awesome! Go get it now!

The Not So Good

I loved everything about this comic book. This is the only review where I could ever say that.

Verdict: Buy It or NOPE

Buy it right now.

You can get Something is Killing the Children Vol.1., a trade paperback that collects the first five issues of the series, at Amazon for $10.88 now.

But if I would you, I would invest in individual issues as a collectible investment. 

Current Market Price: Something is Killing the Children Vol. 1

I highly recommend that you buy Something is Killing the Children Vol.1. If you can find a copy of Something is Killing the Children #1 in any condition, you could make hundreds of dollars selling it right now. And this is for a comic book that came out in 2019.

James Tynion IV is a cult-favorite writer with a loyal fanbase willing to pay a lot for the comics he writes.

If you can find a raw copy of this comic book, which means it is an unprotected comic that is not graded or slabbed, you can make $281 selling it. 

A copy of this comic with a 4.0 CGC grade is worth $295.

A copy of this comic with a 6.0 CGC grade is worth $321.

If you find a copy of this comic with an 8.0 CGC grade then it is worth $386.

A copy of this comic with a 9.0 CGC grade is worth $502. If you have a pristine comic of this comic book with a 9.8 CGC grade, then it is worth $525 on the collectibles market. 

Someone on eBay is trying to sell a 9.8 CGC copy of this issue for $800. Now, this is either a very delusional person, or there is an undeniable demand for this issue and this series. And make no mistake, this is a hot collectibles commodity because of the story and cult fanbase of the creators.

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