My brain is fried from the two-day heat wave that hit the Northeastern United States, such a small intro this week. We’ve got more “Dr. Frost” – you didn’t think we were done with it yet, did you? – and two newcomers with titles straight out of the 90s picture: ” Blood Reverie” and “Sable Curse”. You can read all about it, and maybe a discussion of vampires, in this issue of The Webcomics Weekly.
reverie of blood
Written and illustrated by LifeLifght
Colored by LeeLoo
Reviewed by Michael Mazzzacane
If you’ve been reading this column for a while, you’ll know that in the ever-expanding world of webcomics, several things will immediately grab my attention: puns, metallic-sounding titles, gothic romance, and more. LifeLight’s “Blood Reverie” featuring LeeLoo’s color combines many of these things with its metal-sounding title track (it’s not too far off from something eXtreme Studios would do) and supernatural gothic romance!
Three episodes of “Blood Reverie” is a hodgepodge of genres ranging from the already mentioned supernatural romance to isekai and…corporate espionage. With a good dose of physical humor. Do all these genres seem to merge so well? So far, I wouldn’t say the connection is strong, but using the tropes of isekai to merge the sudden shift to corporate espionage with supernatural romance is smart play. It effectively allows the creative team to play two wildly divergent types of stories against each other. The world of romantic dreams is filled with these lush decadent landscapes and digital effects. Cassia is in these elaborate, unwearable dresses that just look cool. While in the “real” world, the design is boring by comparison, as Cassia works as the cleaning staff for the generic, ominous MAXCORP.
These wild tonal shifts may not be for everyone, but executing them makes it work. The opening chapter of the “dreamlike” world – I call it that because of the official synopsis – is this sumptuous erotic episode which summarizes a love scene and renders the bodies like amorphous shapes playing on each other. It’s surreal and captures the dreamy logic of this space, which is why the sudden vampiric turn is also very effective as a cliffhanger. Meanwhile, the MAXCORP framework is embedded with class-conscious humor and well-rehearsed, yet well-executed physical gags. Industrial espionage is a real surprise and interests me more than Cassia’s next appointment.
It’s still early days and “Blood Reverie” seems determined to go everywhere at once, not the easiest or most engaging read. The way the creative team centers Cassia across multiple aesthetics and genres is interesting even if her character is a bit empty right now. It could turn into something really bonkers and awesome or fall into an abyss of aesthetic excess and lose its grip on the narrative it spins. The art is worth checking out in the first episode at least.
“Blind spot” (7) – (8)
By Jongbeom Lee
Reviewed by Elias Rosner
You know, I totally forgot that Yonghee Cho, Changgyu’s mentor, was the same guy who appeared at the end of season 2 to tell Frost that Professor Chun had been murdered. Part of that was the large amount of time between then and now, part was the change in art style, and part was the new character design after 5-7 years in hiding. I also thought that Changgyu been Yonghee at first but I realized soon enough that it wasn’t the same person.
“Blind Spot” (7) – (8) focuses entirely on what Yonghee has learned since being fired from the newspaper, laying out to Changgyu and the audience his theory of what’s going on. Lee makes it pretty clear from the start that he’s mostly using this as a way to lay the groundwork more for us than Changgyu and that’s actually a good thing. “Dr. Frost” has always done a great job of making the exhibit engaging and keeping it clear when making connections to real theories, methods, etc. Honestly, I was quite shocked at the blunt way “Blind Spot” lays it out, comparing Moon (he’s back on Moon now) to Goebbels and Seon’s father to Hitler.
Perhaps it strikes a South Korean audience differently, in that the parallels are independent of the acts and instead point to their common conservative and far-right ideologies and relationship to each other. Maybe not. Either way, I found it to be a compelling shorthand for the more compelling concepts exposed right after regarding how fear can be used and weaponized. This fits well with what we have already learned about YPA.
It also does a great thing with the tension because Moon’s henchman is listening all the time and we keep cutting him off. This creates immediate tension while Changgyu & Yonghee’s conversation creates a more existential one while simultaneously being a break from the tenser chapters that preceded it. I was so enthralled that I skimmed through both chapters before realizing there was only one left in the arc, which is behind the wall of rooms at the moment, and that doesn’t bode well. good for Yonghee. We’ll just have to see if he makes it through next time or not.
curse of sand
Episodes: 1 to 4
By Petit Melon
Reviewed by Mel Lake
Terron Vogel, the cursed main character of “Sable Curse”, spends much of the first four episodes crying. But since she just learned she’s going to die in six months after a lifetime of abuse by everyone from her parents to the other villagers in her town, a few ugly tears are probably warranted. Terron’s arm is blackened and rendered lifeless, a situation caused by a mysterious curse by someone Terron does not know. His parents have decided to suddenly move to a house called “Sable House”, where, presumably, Terron and his sister will learn more about the curse and their parents’ suspicious need to leave the village.
Watching the black marks spread through flashbacks is a pretty creepy detail, and when Terron exacts revenge on his bullies, the artist depicts his descent into madness with manic, expressive glee that’s genuinely fun to read. Terron’s world is drawn like a typical Renaissance village setting, which seems familiar to readers of fantasy webcomics, but Terron herself gets an androgynous character design that I like. While the scenes of Terron being bullied for his curse are on the nose, they’re also incredibly believable. There are some awkward dialogue and transitions in these episodes, but the artwork as a whole does a great job of balancing a warm slice-of-life feel with a sense of creeping dread. When Terron’s eyes widen and go manic, it’s kind of fun to watch her go wild.
The setup for “Sable Curse” is solid, with Terron having to find a cure for a curse that gradually neutralizes it. This provides plenty of opportunity for tension and twist as Terron must find ways to overcome his inability to use his arm. I’m going to assume that Sable House will be some sort of haunted house, or at least provide a suitably spooky setting for further adventures. While not billed as a horror comic, this one has just enough of a horror angle to pique my interest and follow.