Amigo Comics 2018
Written by Desiree Bressend
Illustrated by Ruben Gil
Manga Dream by Eve Mae
Lettering by Monkey Typers
Can the tradition survive the dead? Can the soul-less survive tradition? Portia can't run away from the Yokai, Ryoko tries to find a Buddhist path for both. Even if this means to betray everything in what she believed. Join both on the borders of the Japanese undead veil!
I have to say for whatever reason it is, this is one of those truly magical experiences that transcends what you expect and instead takes you on this cultural journey. There is this whole similarity between the two women when it comes to the Forest’s claim on them however the reasoning's behind that are world’s apart. Throughout the book it is hauntingly beautiful and seems to wrap you up in what’s happening like that cherished blanket on a cool spring night in front of a bonfire. The soul of the Forest finds it way into your own and you find comfort in that.
Desiree has this way of telling this story that you cannot turn away from. The structure of the book is amazing in it’s pacing and revelations and constant discovery of and by the characters. This is really small cast of characters and to find ways to keep them moving forward while being dragged into the past and fighting for what they desire it isn’t as easy at she makes it all look. While I do not know how much is research, how much is experience and how much is the desire to go but Desiree’s ability to bring the mystique of this treasured place to life is extraordinary.
I find that Ryoko’s attachment and relationship with Shiro is one of the most entertaining things we see. We all know people who have animals and they are treasured companions who are treated like family. Fur babies or just my kids and all that so seeing Ryoko and Shiro this way has this amazing way of bringing a different kind of reality into the book. Something “normal” as it were that just touches you for a moment and reminds you that regardless of belief’s and what we see surrounding them that we are all alike regardless of country of origin.
Ruben is so frakkin amazing when it comes to what he’s doing on the interiors here. Portia’s red hair being so prominent as the only colour around and the blues and blacks and the way they are applied it’s breathtaking. The way he uses the varying weights of linework and his attention to detail keeps that colouring on the page so haunting to me. The utilisation of page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows off one hell of a fantastic eye for storytelling. Without the interiors being done this way I am not sure that the book would have the impact it does.
There are few stories that truly capture a readers mind, imagination and the desire to see the place which is written about. This is far from a romanticised version of the Suicide Forest and the pull of it’s mystique is still strong. It already feels like a magical place in which I want to see what it shows me. While I have no thought of taking my own life there the ghosts that wander and the stories they have to tell would be the adventure of a lifetime.
I don’t know if I am doing this justice or just being flowery with my thoughts but that these folks can evoke such wild fantasies and desires into those who read it puts the level of storytelling here way above that which you see anywhere.