By Hana Zittel
Published Issue 118, October 2023
The Night Eaters: She Eats the Night by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda (2022)
Twins Milly and Billy are making ends meet by running a restaurant in Queens, Spam I Am, while living at their family home with their sweet and nurturing father, Keon, and distant and often cold mother, Ipo, who are back in New York for an annual visit. Long used to their mother’s distant personality and her lack of interest in their work at the restaurant, they protest when being asked to close shop for a day to help her with a mysterious task at the abandoned house across the street. When they dig up a clearly unhuman skeleton they start to ask questions about how their mother knew what was going on at the deserted house next door and what else she might be hiding.
The first volume of The Night Eaters provides frequent flashes back to Ipo’s early life and story of falling in love with Keon. As a young stunt woman in Hong Kong, the authors provide tiny glimpses into Ipo’s history which reveals something far darker about her abnormal behavior than the mere off-putting vibes she gives off.
The illustrations throughout set a haunting mood with washed coloring in neutral tones punched up with bloody splashes of red. Combining horror, fantasy and an in-depth look at family dynamics, Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda’s The Night Eaters, following their award-winning Monstress series, continues in 2023 with The Night Eaters: Her Little Reapers.
Acid Nun by Corinne Halbert (2022)
When Annie, our Acid Nun, takes “a whole ten-strip of crucifixion acid,” on Halloween night, she descends into a hellish bad trip leading straight to an abyss built from her own trauma. Her only hope of escape is her demonic lover, Eleanor, who must find Annie and rescue her from the darkness of her mind. Sidetracked by a debaucherous sex bender with Baphomet, Eleanor comes to and enlists the deity’s help to contact a tarot reader to find Annie. Meanwhile, Annie is sinking deeper and deeper into her childhood trauma, desperately trying to free her inner child.
Acid Nun is a sex and gore soaked surrealist journey into the scars of trauma set in a nauseatingly vibrant, psychedelic world. Originally produced as three separate comics, Corinne Halbert interjects personal sections in this graphic novel at those breaks. Crafted as letters to the reader, these sections expand on how her own trauma and history led to the creation of this work. Though visually horrific, Acid Nun maintains a wholesome root, that we can always find our way out of the dark, often with love and friendship, even if it’s from some unlikely sources. Halbert’s artwork makes this strange tale shutter with life, and the use of unrelentingly bold color palettes set this comic among great psychedelic horror classics.
Hana Zittel is a librarian at the Denver Public Library in addition to being a librarian at the Denver Zine Librarian. She grew up in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and pretty much just likes being outside with her pup when she has some free time, and reading, that might have been assumed though.