October 25, 2010

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Coexistence

Part of the 10 Days of Halloween Horror! You can see the rest here and here.

Written by Slawomir Mrozek
Adapted by Matt Dembicki
Illustrated by Matt Dembicki
Self-Published

I don't think I realized how many comics by Matt Dembicki I actually had until I pulled them out to read them after enjoying his Xoc series so much. I also didn't realize how many of them have a Halloween feel to them until I started looking at my stacks for things to review as part of this special series of reviews and posts.

In this mini, Dembicki uses a sketchy, shadowy style (the cover to the left is a pretty good representation of the interior contents, though with more use of gray tones) to adapt a short story by Mrozek about the subtle ways in which we can be corrupted.

An honest vicar is faced with the prospect of the devil, smiling politely, invading his home. Knowing that the devil brings evil wherever he goes, the vicar considers throwing him out. But if he keeps him at his home, others are spared. What to do, what to do? With the devil seemingly content to just chill, the vicar thinks he is safe. But the devil is a crafty creature, as the vicar will soon find out!

I'm not familiar at all with Mrozek as a writer, but this story is excellent and makes me want to seek out more of his stories. It's a simple tale that, in Dembicki's hands, moves quickly but with just enough pacing that the climax of the story hits you right in the face. I love how this story ends, and even though I find it unlikely that you'll be able to get a copy of this mini, I don't want to spoil it just in case you do.

Part of why this one works so well is Dembicki's framing. The panels have borders but they're wavering, just like the vicar's mind. Each picture has its own place, but seems like it could at end time bleed into the other images. Everything feels old and corrupted. His devil has such a simple-minded look, which is perfect for the story, while the vicar looks increasingly harried. You can tell that Dembicki is making the story his own, even as he uses the ideas from Mrozek. It's a great match.

This is a wonderful mini-comic that's short but well worth the reading. Try to get a copy if you can. It's arguably my favorite of the Dembicki minis that I own.