Julia Gfrörer. Fantagraphics, $16.99 (96p) ISBN 978-1-68396-315-8
Gfrörer (Laid Waste) continues to build her reputation as one of the foremost contemporary horror cartoonists with this dense and disturbing psychological twist on the haunted house story. Eleanor, a quietly frustrated woman living in an unnamed late 19th-century city, lost her shot at happiness when her fiancé was killed at war and has resigned herself to a life of spinsterhood, rooming with her sneering brother in their family’s town house and playing lady’s maid to his sickly, neurotic wife. When she ventures out, it’s usually to visit the doctor who corrects her failing eyesight with painful treatments. But in her time alone in her room, Eleanor hears a seductive ghost communicating with her through her bedroom mirror, sympathizing with her woes and encouraging her to release her repressed desires. Is this fantasy, or is the ghost, and other spirits haunting the family, real? The comic plays endless variations on the theme of vision, with images of mirrors, eyes, blindness, reflective knives, invisible presences, and the classic Victorian scenario of diving through the looking glass. Gfrörer’s twitchy, shuddering black ink work has an antique quality perfect for period fiction, while her storytelling suggests layers of Gothic menace under a placid surface and recalls classic writers such as Shirley Jackson. Gfrörer punctuates the subtly sinister domestic drama with bald sensuality and grotesque violence. This taut, titillating nightmare is guaranteed to haunt readers. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 06/04/2020
Release date: 08/25/2020
Genre: Comics
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