Queenie Chan, 2014 Bento Comics
Recommended for ages 14+ Contained inside are four short Mystery/Horror stories that will very much resonate with lovers of Asian-style horror.
The tales are quite text heavy compared with most comics, and the artist makes it clear in a brief introduction that the layout is an experiment called ‘comics-prose’ – and in my opinion, it works.
Illustrations break up the narrative and provide visual references to the scene, also occasionally present the verbal communication between characters. I found the style to be reminiscent of watching a movie that has narrator speaking over the action, with a break to allow sounds/dialogue to be heard, or an event to play out.
The comic panels are beautifully placed, adding to the suspense and horror of aspects of the stories, crucial as a jarring placement could disrupt the flow.
Also noteworthy is the fact that the illustrations are predominantly grey-scale, with emphasised aspects coloured with splashes of crimsons, pink skin tones, grotesque yellows and gloomy blue hues.
Visuals are not uncomfortably graphic in nature, but unsettling none the less, and still leave some aspects to your imagination.
The tales themselves range from haunting historical to macabre and disturbing and all are very dark and melancholic in theme.
Whilst not for the faint of heart, I do recommend this as an introduction to the world of horror comics, especially if you are new to Asian style stories.