Strangehaven is a self-published comic book series, created, written, and illustrated by Gary Spencer Millidge. Ostensibly a murder mystery set in a small, isolated village in South West England, Strangehaven fuses elements of folk horror and supernatural soap opera with off-beat humour and an impossibly idealised vision of British rural life.
Alex Hunter finds himself lost during a motoring holiday in the narrow winding lanes of Dartmoor in Devon. He sees a vision of a woman dressed in black standing in the middle of the road, which causes him to crash, rendering him unconscious. He wakes to find himself in the village of Strangehaven. During a short recovery period, he falls in love with both the village and its people, in particular the doctor’s young receptionist Janey. But like so many such quaint communities, it seems that behind each door lies a mystery, and every inhabitant has a secret to hide.
In Strangehaven we encounter all kinds of unusual characters including ghosts, talking animals, an Amazonian shaman, a missing World War II pilot, witches, and an alien from the planet Nimoi. Who or what are the mysterious Knights, a pseudo-masonic masked society who are using the village for their own ends…and why is there the body of a naked girl in a fishtank? Will Alex manage to escape the village? Does he even want to….?
Millidge’s Strangehaven is a meticulously crafted patchwork of murder mystery, quantum theory, secret rituals, and tangled human relationships. It questions the very nature of reality, and how to make the perfect cup of tea.
The series draws elements from the author’s own life, together with many quintessentially British traditions and culture, including pop music, sports and classic sixties’ television series like The Prisoner and The Avengers (while transposing something of Lynch’s Twin Peaks to rural England).
Inspired by comics series like McKean’s Cages, and Moore and Sienkiewicz’s Big Numbers, Millidge manages to create something entirely his own. A village not quite like any other. You may visit but, “you’ll never leave.”
Gary published 18 issues of Strangehaven between 1995 and 2005, which have been collected and are available as three graphic novels; Arcadia, Brotherhood, and Conspiracies. Since 2014, the ongoing, long-awaited fourth volume Destiny continues to be serialised in the British comic anthology, Meanwhile… published by Soaring Penguin Press.