Reading Pile: Nenetl of the Forgotten Spirits GN HC
I really enjoyed Vera Greentea's Grimoire Noir, so when this popped up on Kickstarter and I saw Laura Müller's beautiful art I figured I had to support it. Nenetl is an all-ages Day of the Dead horror story focusing on a lost and forgotten soul that's returned to land of the living and is searching for someone to remember her before the end of the festival. Meanwhile, a group of would-be child exorcists are searching for her to send her back to the spirit world as she may potentially claim a soul if her mission fails.
The story has a light fairy tale quality to it, emphasizing the tone and concept over character development. The pacing also gives it a bit of a dreamlike quality as well, which is nicely enhanced by Müller's flowing and ephemeral art style. Given the nature that it's a fairly quick read I think the lack of characterization works fine because in the long run the human characters are sort of just you're normal parable stand ins and you don't really need to feel too much for the supporting cast. The priest is a priest who tells you priest things, y'know, stuff like that.
Nenetl herself is interesting as she serves as both antagonist and protagonist, offering a morally blurred focus to the mission of the young exorcists while giving her some depth. There is a young homeless boy named Jonah who is a central protagonist as well, but let's face it he's not a ghost, a bit less interesting, and pretty much there as a sort of plot device for some of Nenetl's revelations.
The true star of the story though is Müller's art and coloring as they invoke a great supernatural tone throughout the book. Her gentle and flowing line style reminds me a bit of Sean Galloway's work, giving everything a mixed animation/children's storybook feeling that I found to be really engaging. Her color palette makes great uses of cold and warm tones to invoke the perfect atmosphere for each scene as well, giving a great sense of cohesion to all the storytelling elements.
If you can still find a way to get your hands on the Kickstarter release it's a really nice package, clocking in at about 77 pages of content which includes some art in the back plus the charming covers to the original single issue releases. The $30 price tag is a little steep for how quick the story reads, but the hardcover format is a larger 8in x 11in with some really nice UV spot lamination, so as an art book it makes a really pretty addition to your collection.
They will be making a second edition with less format features so you may just have to wait till that is announced, but you can still pick up the single issues and pdf copies at Greentea's store. So if you're in the mood for a whimsical spooky tale with some nice Day of the Dead centric story elements then you should help support an indy creator and check this out along with her other great stories.