Haunter (http://studygroupcomics.com/main/haunter-part-1-by-sam-alden/) was one of my 3 Ignatz picks for best webcomic of 2013. The man woman being haunted in this case is an unnamed boar hunter who steals a bunch of sacred BBQ skewers from an ancient temple (I woulda taken the gun but that’s me). This pisses off some guardian of the temple at which point all hell breaks loose. It’s a very short story. You can read it in the time it takes to watch the opening sequence of Raiders of the Lost Arc which I feel it might have been based on. By the way I heard Steven Spielberg took the giant boulder sequence from a Scrooge McDuck comic so I guess it’s only fair.

Getting back to Haunter, I haven’t read a comic that packs this much punch into such a short sequence since Sammy Harkham’s Poor Sailor. The story really draws you in right from the first panel and doesn’t let you go until the last. The colors are vibrant without being garish and literally glow in my hands when I read it on my tablet (a really excellent use of the web format). To sum up, it’s a masterpiece.

Not to get too zen but the best part of the story is the story that’s not in the story. After I read Haunter I spent quite a lot of time trying to imagine the series of events that would lead to the existence of this temple. In a few wordless panels, we get a huge freakin’ backstory about the fall of civilizations, the building of new ones followed by their eventual demise as well, who knows how many times over. Art Spielgelman famously said that comics is what happens between the panels. Haunter shows sometimes the best comics can take place before the first panel too.