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Graveneye: A Spoiler-Free Review

Alan reviews TKO Studios new graphic novel, Graveneye from Sloane Leong and Anna Bowles.

The creative team of Sloane Leong and Anna Bowles are giving us a house. One with personality, a house that has seen it all, and has actually ‘done’ some of it.

Graveneye, a new graphic novel from TKO Studios, arrives on Nov. 15, bringing with it blood, sacrifice, mystery and a fascinating interior monologue.

This IS about the house. A feral, untamed old mansion surrounded by woods, a house that dictates a certain respect as it hosts the reader and welcomes us into its fading glory. It has developed a need to do more than merely house people, it engages and interacts with them. In a sneaky, under-carpeted way. With more relish than varnish, its walls and floors acting as ears, eyes and arms. Arms with which to encircle, engage and examine its inhabitants.

Marie has arrived at the house. She’s a quiet, reserved young woman, looking for work. She undergoes her interview with Isla, the owner. Isla is a strong personality with a commanding posture. They hit it off, oddly enough. Isla sees something fascinating in Marie, and Marie is happy to have a job.

As the story unfolds, the two women become entwined in a strange dance, one of predator and prey, of mutual respect and admiration, of healthy and unhealthy longing. But who is the predator, prey tell? It’s a hunt meant for the end of a red October, a chase to the woods, a bloody well rendered carcass of an adventure.

Writer Sloan Leong takes us on this unusual journey into the well wooded hinterlands, the camouflaged hunting party, with the soft tread of the observer. The house speaks fluidly, inhabits the narrative in a sly, coaxing voice, impartial but all seeing. The scenes and chapters manage to pull us in in closer, ever closer, to our horror. We can’t look away from the bruising dialogue, the hidden corridors of drama, the basement of base desires. Saints preserve us!

Anna Bowles’ visual style is hand drawn, hand lettered, with panel borders tilting like old planks, as she nails the look. It’s black and white, washed and dried into half tone, as we half realize the warren she’s leading us into. A glimpse of red here and there, hopping from page to page, all bloody and frightened. The drawings are carefully rendered and cross hatched, hewn and strewn to maintain an old look, freshly aired.

Graveneye is a completely captivating read. Chapter after chapter of its 178 pages weave a dangerous carpet, so much so that we hesitate to put the book down. It’s all for our entertainment, this gothic construction, from Portland, Oregon’s Leong (Prism Stalker, A Map To The Sun, etc) and London, England’s Anna Bowles.

Graveneye is available for pre-order now from TKO Studios.

By alanspinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Word, pictures and adventures!

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