Anathema  is a gothic love story packed full of monsters, lesbian persecution and magic. Written by Rachel Deering (Womanthology) and inked by Chris Mooneyham, the introduction of this story is emotional and heavy, with a style reminiscent of classic horror. Mercy introduces us to her backstory, one of fire and brimstone that will eventually lead her to abandon herself to a monstrous power in order to exact revenge on those attempting to send her true love’s soul to hell. Along the way, we learn about the villain of the story, who happens to have a very sinister history of his own. We meet some interesting demons who represent him.

 

The first issue of this story starts out on a very classical theme of witch burning but quickly takes a turn for something much deeper and more complex. I enjoyed this aspect of it, that it was not completely predictable or even written inside the confines of any horror story box. The characters all brought their own histories, the motivation of revenge and guilt pushes you to immediately feel an attachment to the heroine and the story veers in so many unexpected directions that there are multiple doors left open for future issues to take you in.

 

The art is also really cool. It’s heavy handed, melancholy, with lots of shadows and thick lines to get the point across, which vibes well with the story. Some of the panels felt almost mosaic-like, practically overlapping each other in a very pretty way. Then others are more open, sprawling scenes that make you feel like there’s an entire landscape beyond the edges of the page, if only you could stretch it a little further. For me, the art was the star of this book, although to be fair, it’s easier to convey great art in one issue, where writing can take a bit more time to develop properly.

 

I recommend Anathema. The first issue may or may not be your cup of tea, but I can see this story building up to something nicely detailed and fun to read. It’s refreshing to see a story that can both touch on modern day issues like discrimination of gay relationships and also paint a very old fashioned monster picture that feels genuine and not campy. I know Rachel Deering is quite passionate about her work and that in itself is well worth supporting; we all know the comic industry could use a little more chutzpah, a bit more metaphorical ‘balls’ behind the work.

This leads me to Kickstarter, which is where you can go to support the future of Anathema. Make a pledge, get the comics and support independent writers and artists who are working hard to bring you quality reading material. Do it!

 

 

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