"Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Story by Neil Gaiman
Adapted and illustrated by Shane Oakley
Colored by Nick Filardi
2017, 48 Pages
Graphic novel released on January 25th, 2017
A writer toils away attempting to write his masterpiece of literature. He tries and tries as he describes his heroine running through the night from one moment of terror to the next. She encounters zombies, ghouls, and all sorts of creepy crawlies. What frustrates the writer is that humor pops in here and again, making a mockery of the serious prose he's trying to create. Of course, if he were to take a look around, he might find a bit of inspiration from the likes of his spooky estate, taking ravens, and assorted monsters lurking within his home.
Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire easily wins the prize for longest title of a comic of the year, and it's released in January. This is a graphic novel adaptation from Shane Oakley of a short story written by Neil Gaiman. That alone should give you enough of a reason to read the book.
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There's a definite twist with Forbidden Brides. Of course, the idea that all these horror elements are happening all around the writer is a bit of a joke, but there's one final reveal towards the end that puts everything into context. It will leave you with a knowing smile when you fully understand all of its eccentricities.
Oakley's artwork is superb. He has this way of making nearly every scene scary. The opening pages featuring the woman running through the woods are beautiful. There's this effect that's used sparingly but very effectively, where the background will blend into something described in the narration. For example, as the woman explains how her parents drowned in a horrible accident, her hair flows out to the side, forming makeshift waves. A hand reaches up desperately seeking salvation.
Shadow is used incredibly well in both the story within the story and the writer's tale. The former is presented in black-and-white, while color is used in the latter to distinguish the two. Everything is lit with small candles, illuminating select areas, but leaving most in darkness. As most of the writer's surroundings belong in some sort of oddities exhibit, casting them in shadow works well to establish the mood of the story.
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Oakley's character designs are angular and unique. We get a look into his creation of each person in the back matter of the book. He has a great style that I'd love to see more of, especially in horror. It reminds me a bit of Mike Mignola, particularly with the use of shadow, however Oakley's characters are far easier on the eyes.
Forbidden Brides is a great addition to the ever-growing library of comic book adaptations of Neil Gaiman's work. His stories lend themselves very well to the medium and this one is no different. It plays with the tropes of the genre, poking fun at them and ultimately turning them on their head. Shane Oakley's artwork is top notch and works well with the story, enhancing the prose considerably.