The phrase, "if these walls could talk," haunts the gothic horror genre, and Graveneye from TKO Studios brings this idea to life in a new graphic novel by writer Sloane Leong and artist Anna Bowles. In the spirit of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and Stephen King's The ShiningGraveneye digs deeply into the significance of place and setting in gothic horror. With these themes brought to life in its atmospheric writing and black, white, and red color palette, Graveneye carries on gothic horror's legacy in a graphic novel format, providing a satisfying genre excursion while showcasing the very best of the medium's potential.


Set in an isolated, snow-covered mansion in the woods, Graveneye tells the story of Ilsa, a lonely, mysterious woman, whose contemplative silence is broken after she hires a maid, Marie, to clean her house. As the winter drags on, the two women who become increasingly obsessed with each other, unearthing a deep sense of repressed psychosis as they circle each other like predator and prey. While fascinated with each other, both Marie and Ilsa have their own dark secrets simmering below the surface, privy only to the mansion itself, who narrates the story.

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From Leong's hypnotically precise narration to Bowles's starkly beautiful inks and handwritten lettering, Graveneye is one of the year's best horror comics. Considering that horror comics are more popular than everGraveneye steers clear of clichés in order to delve deeply into character and tone, marking a welcome break from current conventions. Instead of being preoccupied with immediately scaring its reader, Graveneye takes the opportunity to use the genre's visceral potential in order to ask a question of what horror even is in the first place. Is it best understood as an absence of love, or an expression of it? Either way, Graveneye challenges its reader to find beauty in the grotesque, and comfort in the transgressive, a task made easy by the cohesiveness of Leong's writing and Bowles's visuals.

The mansion on the cover of Graveneye by TKO Studios.

Aside from being an elegantly rendered horror story, Graveneye also functions as a self-reflective look at the legacy of queerness in the genre, evident in its parallels to the lesbian vampire discourse of Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla. Monstrosity has been commonly used in gothic horror as a vehicle for deviancy, and Graveneye turns this premise on its head as the true nature of Ilsa and Marie's bond is revealed. The story's twisted ending leaves the reader with a question of how monsters are created in the first place: are they intrinsically born that way, or do they only exist in relation to their environment?

Graveneye brings classic elements of gothic horror to new significance through the medium of comics, creating a story that finds beauty in the horrific. Its visuals and plot will be appealing to fans of Hannibal, while fans of The Dollhouse Family will enjoy the unique role that the house plays in the story. Graveneye's marriage between its script and art make it a tour de force of contemporary horror, one that is as much a feast for the eyes as it is one for the mind.

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