Tuesday, March 1, 2016

More superb YA stuff from Improper Books! "Butterfly Gate" by Benjamin Read and Chris Wildgoose (Improper Books)

Once again we're delving into the glorious (but strictly not for kids) library of Improper Books titles with a look at something distinctly dark but richly imaginative.

Wordless comics must be incredibly tough to write and illustrate but thankfully when you've got an artist as talented as Chris Wildgoose to interpret your scenes, it's very easy to pick your way through the tale as it winds itself around your cerebral cortex.

"Butterfly Gate" starts off relatively innocently, with two children at play, catching butterflies in a net and stowing them away in jars. One particularly striking specimen leads the girl and boy on a merry dance into the deep dark woods. In the darkest part, they find an ancient artifact - a crumbling stone statue and a giant altar.

By accident they discover that the statue is more than it seems. Blood spilled on the altar causes a mysterious door to open - a door filled with a shining blue hypnotic light that entrances the children and leads them to commit a truly unspeakable and terrible act in order to open the portal to another world...

(It's at this point I once again stress that this is a comic more suitable for a YA / mature audience! Certainly it does not pull any punches and is quite graphic. I won't get into the nitty gritty of trying to slap an age rating on it as all kids are different. But there is gore and violence, so be prepared!)

Once through the Butterfly Gate, the two children soon realise that life on the other side isn't exactly peachy. It's certainly no idyllic playground for children, and the harsh reality of the other world is that it's a brutal regime where child slavery is the norm - and the girl and boy soon find themselves press-ganged into service as divers for sunken treasure, working for a cruel overlord.

Is this to be their fate then? Well I couldn't possibly give away the ending - suffice to say that this is merely episode 1 of an eventual 5 book series so you're only going to get a taste of their story in this first volume but it will definitely leave you wanting to find out more.

With shades of John Carter of Mars, fused with darkly gothic themes, "Butterfly Gate" is visceral, brutal but oddly beautiful stuff - certainly as you'd expect from Improper Books who seem to have cornered the market in gloriously original and darkly woven tales such as this.

"Butterfly Gate" is available in print and digital formats (and there's an excellent 12 page preview here too!) from the Improper Books website.


No comments: