The third in a trilogy of standalone ghost stories published by Ink and Thunder, Becky Cloonan’s Demeter is a tense, frightening tale of the consequences of lost love.
Anna lives a seemingly happy life with her lover, fisherman Colin, whom she’d first met seven months ago via rescuing him from a shipwreck. However, strange apparitions call to Anna from the sea on a daily basis, until the true extent of her relationship with Colin is spilled out in terrifying circumstances.
What’s revealed is a, quite literally, deadly deal done by Anna with the ocean she and Colin live by – a deal that ultimately backfires tremendously on Anna and provides the story with a gripping twist towards the finale.
Its simple yet deftly-told story has a snowball effect whereby the reader becomes presented with clue after clue as to the painful truth of Colin’s and Anna’s relationship. Also, for such a short read, Demeter boasts fine pacing, a key element whenever writing stories as suspenseful as this. While the dialogue does tread some melodramatic lines, the sharp, detailed artwork more than makes up for this.
Demeter is completely illustrated in black and white, resulting in some marvellous use of shading and light that’s put to wonderfully dramatic use in the eerier scenes of the comic – just look at the panel where Anna and Colin’s intruder gazes at them through their window.
The artwork radiates elsewhere, such as on page twelve where Colin’s eyes pierce through his soot-black hair, or where, on page seventeen, we’re shown a brief flashback of how Anna was in happier times. The level of shade and lighting that crafts her face is exquisite.
Both story and art compliment each other brilliantly – they share a subtle immediacy where the impact is felt more and more on several readings. The story’s overly dramatic dialogue does drag the story down somewhat, but it also adds to the period feel of the overall comic, as well as heightening the ever-constant drama faced by Anna.
The pros most definitely outweigh the cons, and Demeter stands as a well-drawn/well-told story of how a person’s love can drive them to do the most selfish of acts – with dire consequences found in the bitter ending. The deceiving simplicity of the story catches you off guard, and points to how good (and how spooky) this comic book is.
Have you read Demeter? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments section below or send us a tweet!