The Man Who Came Down the Attic Stairs

Celine Loup. Archaia, $14.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-68415-352-7
This taut graphic novella builds psychological horror brick by brick in an elegantly drawn haunted-house tale. Thomas and Emma, a young couple, move to a sprawling home in the countryside to start a family. But living in the middle of nowhere with a colicky, constantly wailing baby begins to fray Emma’s nerves. Soon she’s hearing strange sounds in the attic and noticing sinister changes in her increasingly cold husband as the demands of motherhood drag her down into madness. With suffused paranoia and dread amid domestic placidity suggestive of Shirley Jackson, the story tackles postpartum depression, maternal isolation, trauma, and the all-too-common parental anxiety that Emma expresses by asking, “What if some women were never meant to be mothers, and it takes a baby to find out?” Loup’s carefully observed black-and-white art, fine-lined with gray ink washes for shading, gives the narrative a faintly antiquated feel that’s just off-kilter enough to suggest a subtle wrongness to the house, the grounds, and the frantic human figures trapped within as the baby shrieks. Brief but effective, this unnerving work digs into the ordinary and extraordinary horrors of parenting. Agent: Meredith Kaffel Simonoff, DeFiore & Company Literary Mgmt. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/25/2019
Release date: 09/25/2019
Genre: Comics
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