Story Synopsis: The Man Who Came Down the Attic Stairs
A woman is raising her newborn baby daughter when her husband suddenly starts acting and looking drastically differently in The Man Who Came Down the Attic Stairs by BOOM! Studios.
Emma and her husband bought their dream home and are looking forward to starting their family. When Roslin was born Emma couldn’t have been more excited. However, something was wrong with Roslin.
She cried all day and all night which is not usual for a newborn, but it was not because she was hungry, a dirty diaper or colic. Roslin was “screaming like a calf being slaughtered,” according to Emma. Emma thought something was frightening her and making her cry. Emma was starting to go crazy from lack of sleep. Roslin’s father, Thomas, worked all day so Emma took care of Roslin for most of the day.
One day Thomas cut the lock which locked the attic door. When he was up in the attic Emma heard a huge crash and from that point on Thomas was detached and a different person. Sometimes when Emma saw Thomas his head turned into a grotesque monster’s head. However, Emma started seeing a psychologist to help her. Was Emma going mad or had her Thomas been replaced by a demon?
Not Your Typical Horror Story
This sounded like a pretty cool horror story. I like to read a small scale horror story every so often. Having a short self contained story is nice to read as well. This story was not exactly what I had expected though.
I purposely do not read the summary before I read these new releases. However, it was pretty obvious this would not be your typical horror story. Since it is spoiled in the summary I’ll spoil the twist. Emma is going through postpartum depression.
Horror Using Postpartum Depression
When women and apparently some men have children they can go through a severe depression. It can get so bad that they begin to have thoughts about harming the baby. Emma is going through this and is why she is seeing a psychologist.
I kind of saw that twist coming, but I would have liked if they played with my expectations. It would have been better if things happened which made me doubt myself and my theory. Thomas could have shifted more and more both physically and emotionally.
A lot of the things which happen are probably metaphors for baby birth and events surrounding childbirth, but they are not clear enough for me to pick up on them. A good example is Thomas going down from the attic. What does that event represent? After that point everything changes so what does it mean?
A Longer Story Would Have Helped With The Horror And Postpartum Aspects
Another aspect is if Thomas was “Gaslighting” Emma and making her feel like she is crazy for always hearing Roslin crying when Thomas doesn’t. However, the worst aspect of the story was it just ended. We don’t get to see any kind of resolution to Emma or Thomas’ story.
I think this story would have benefited immensely from it being 100 more pages. Everything could have been drawn out and focused more on the horror aspects the story laid the foundations for.
This could have been a story purely to show the symptoms of postpartum depression. If that is the case then it was not direct enough. Postpartum depression is a very scary thing and it is important to educate the public, but this was not the right way to do it.
The Man Who Came Down the Attic Stairs failed to hit any of the key points of being a horror comic, a comic about postpartum depression or even just a good comic.
Written by: Celine Loup
Art by: Celine Loup
Cover by: Celine Loup
Publisher: BOOM! Studios