cover image Where Black Stars Rise

Where Black Stars Rise

Nadia Shammas and Marie Enger. Nightfire, $17.99 (128p) ISBN 978-1-250-75017-4

In this inventive horror comic, Amal Robardin is a therapist in training whose first client, a schizophrenic New York City theatre scene blogger named Yasmin, has been experiencing increasingly intense nighttime visions of a figure looming in the dark beside her bed. Grappling with her own inexperience as a therapist and the expectations of her faraway yet overbearing family, Amal struggles to help Yasmin, who disappears after becoming increasingly absorbed in the mythology of Robert W. Chambers’s The King in Yellow, a foundational collection of cosmic horror. Determined to find and rescue Yasmin, Amal gets trapped along with Yasmin in Carcosa, an impossible, mind-melting dimension. To survive and escape, she must confront both her limitations as a therapist and her most elemental fears of failure and ego-death. Together, Shammas and Enger construct an incredible marriage of blisteringly vulnerable subject matter and art that expertly captures the enormous emotions at the heart of the story. Enger’s visual style melds jagged punk zine sensibilities with the lush flourishes of Mike Mignola to create a distinct and immersive aesthetic. Of particular note are the inking and coloring, which are used to devastating effect throughout the narrative. Fans of confessional surrealism owe it to themselves to check this out. (Oct.)