cover image Luda


Grant Morrison. Del Rey, $28 (448p) ISBN 978-0-593-35530-5

Comics writer Morrison (Supergods) debuts with an intricate and fantastical take on All About Eve starring an aging drag queen and her ambitious protégé. The not-entirely-reliable guide through this “haunted arcade of shifting selves and liquid identities” is Luci LaBang, a former television star now in her 50s. “Narcissus in middle age, in all her airbrushed Hollywood splendor,” as she describes herself, is tapped to participate in a stage production called The Phantom of the Pantomime, a mix of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Aladdin, and The Phantom of the Opera by way of Beckett. Luci is also a master of an occult-influenced, perception-bending art called The Glamour. After a suspicious accident befalls Luci’s costar, she’s replaced by an inexperienced yet bewitching ingenue named Luda. A “Rentboy” with a traumatic past, Luda is desperate and determined to learn The Glamour’s “sleight of mind,” particularly the ability to disappear into someone else. She becomes a sort of sorcerer’s apprentice until, perhaps unsurprisingly, her sinister motives are revealed. Though the madcap theatricality can sometimes feel a bit overwrought, Morrison’s dense and often dazzling sentences brim with Wilde-esque wordplay. For readers willing to go the distance, magic awaits. (Sept.)