cover image Nightlights


Lorena Alvarez. Nobrow (Consortium, dist.), $18.95 (56p) ISBN 978-1-910620-13-7

In a captivatingly eerie graphic novel from Colombian artist Alvarez, a young artist named Sandy finds the refuge of her imagination threatened by a mysterious interloper. For Sandy, it’s easy to tap into a magical, Technicolor world of friendly, fantastical beasts—owls, giant octopi, tadpolelike creatures, and more—and those imaginings fuel her drawings. This changes when she befriends Morfie, a lavender-haired child who turns up at Sandy’s Catholic school, which is run by strict nuns. Sandy’s classmates don’t notice Morfie, and when she later appears in Sandy’s bedroom, she transforms into a sinister, spritelike creature. She begins to dictate how and what Sandy draws, raising uneasy questions about the way that critical opinions can influence an artist. “Once you realize that you need me to tell you... how brilliant you are... nothing will keep us apart!” the increasingly gruesome Morfie tells Sandy. Alvarez’s haunting artwork features coiling plumes of lush colors and Miyazaki-esque beasts that create a sense of brooding melancholy. It’s a deliciously hair-raising story that thoughtfully explores themes of isolation, creativity, and how social pressures can encroach on individuality. Ages 9–up Agency: Bright Group. (Mar.)