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Comic Book / Home Sick Pilots

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Home Sick Pilots is a 2020 horror comic by Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard, published by Image Comics.

In the summer of 1994, Ami and her friends have formed a punk band by the name of the Home Sick Pilots, playing a battle of the bands against the Nuclear Bastards. Then Ami decides what they really need to up their game is something really weird and authentic — like a playing a gig in a haunted house. And the Old James House just happens to be haunted.

But when Ami goes there, she finds more than what she wanted. Specifically, the house is haunted and wants to use her to bring back the missing pieces of itself, including some very haunted items. But is that all it wants? And who else has to die before it becomes whole?


Tropes in Home Sick Pilots:

  • The '90s: The book is set in 1994, with flashbacks to the previous year. It's also filled with '90s references to grunge and VHS.
  • Broken Bird: Ami and, later, Meg. They go through horrific things, but end up fighting back using the only things they can: ghosts. Notably, both of them are the only people who can, so far, use ghosts as Humongous Mecha.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: The haunted horseshoe. The woman who owned it says it brought her luck, but when she accidentally left it behind, it found its way back to her almost immediately and she hasn't been able to get rid of it since. The horseshoe ends up possessing her, making Ami use the house's powers to bring it back.
  • Dead Person Conversation: The head of System Disrupt says that when he was 19, he "hacked the afterlife." Which basically means he did a séance to talk to his dead grandfather and it worked.
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  • Demonic Possession: Ami lets the ghosts of the Old James House possess her in order to find all the missing items that came from it. When she's connected to the ghosts, she glows and her hair turns white.
  • Driven to Suicide: The woman who owned the horseshoe. The absolute good luck the horseshoe gave her made her miserable, since she knew it wasn't real, but once Ami took away the horseshoe, the woman said she didn't know if she could put herself together again and walked off the edge of a building.
  • Electromagnetic Ghosts: There are ghosts that are connected to electronic devices. TFT was connected to a VHS tape and, later, we see that System Disrupt has ghosts connected to televisions.
  • Foreseeing My Death: The lamp from the third issue will project shadows foretelling how that person will die. One girl sees her shadow without a head and, later, is decapitated from an unfortunate cheerleading/chicken wire accident.
  • Friendly Ghost: While this is what Ami thinks the ghosts in the Old James House are like, it's very much averted: they have killed a lot of people. When Ami is told that the house killed the Nuclear Bastards (aside from Meg), she loses her trust in the house.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The VHS ghosts is called "TFT." Later on, it's revealed that his is an acronym for "That Fucking Thing."
  • Ghostly Goals: The Old James House wants to reunite everything that was inside it and was then sold off or stolen and it's using Ami to do it.
  • Good Luck Charm: A woman who took a horseshoe from the Old James House explains to her lover that it brings her good luck. Later, however, as she explains to Ami, it brings her good luck no matter what — even when she no longer wants it, even when she knows it's not real.
  • Haunted Heroine:
    • Ami went to the Old James House because she thought playing a gig inside a haunted house would attract a lot more people and then the house ended up possessing her in order to reunited with all the items taken from it over the years.
    • Meg from the Nuclear Bastards becomes a protagonist in the second arc. She's now covered in the blood of her bandmates who died in the house and the blood won't come off, because it's their ghosts, too.
  • Haunted House: The Old James House isn't just haunted — everything inside the house is haunted, too, so taking anything out of it will result in a haunted item.
  • Haunted Technology:
    • The VHS tape in issue three unravels the tape and forms a figure. Unfortunately, Ami quickly realizes that the VHS ghost was not a part of the Old James House. It turns out to be called TFT and it's part of a government-sponsored group called System Disrupt who go after ghosts and use them to power technology.
    • The second arc is about System Disrupt, a government-funded agency that wants to use ghosts to power technology. Specifically, Humongous Mecha.
  • Humongous Mecha: Humungous mecha powered by ghosts.
  • Intangibility: By the third issue, when Ami works for the house, she can walk through walls.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: The Nuclear Bastards follow the Home Sick Pilots into the Old James House and the House then turns them into red paste.
  • Mystical White Hair: When Ami is empowered by the Old James House, her hair turn white. When she returns an item and goes back to being normal, her hair goes back to its regular black color.
  • Not Quite Dead: In issue 5, the Old James House (with Ami and Buzz inside) gets pulled under the ocean and doesn't emerge. The end of issue 6, however, reveals that it's still alive, however, and issue 7 shows how Ami and Buzz escaped, while the house itself is still underwater and following them.
  • Out, Damned Spot!: Played with regarding Meg, the only survivor of the Nuclear Bastards. When she emerges from the house she is completely covered in blood. And it doesn't matter what Meg does, because the blood never washes off. Even if she wipes some off her hands or her face, the blood just grows back.
  • Power Dyes Your Hair: Being possessed by the Old James House doesn't just give Ami white hair, but also various ghost powers.
  • Power Floats: Being possessed by the house allows Ami to float.
  • The Quincy Punk: In the third issue, Buzz goes to a part of the town populated by these types of punks. He dislikes them, because they appear to be punks in appearance only — they don't even like music. And they also fake having Sid Vicious-type accents (yelling "oi oi").
  • Taking You with Me: TFT drags the Old James House under the ocean, since it wants to kill it. Both are considered dead after that, but subsequent issues show that the Old James House can survive perfectly fine under the water and has been following Ami.