Worry Doll (Mam Tor Publishing)

wdheaderWith a surprising blend of old-school horror, psychological thriller, and fine art, Matt Coyle succeeds on every level with this truly unique new graphic novel.

 

 

76 pgs B&W; $17.95

(W / A: Matt Coyle)

Any reader searching for something truly unique may look no further. With a surprising blend of old-school horror, psychological thriller, and fine art, Matt Coyle succeeds on every level with Worry Doll. While certainly not fare for all readers, this book could easily become a cult classic whose appeal far transcends the comics-reading audience.

 

In fact, Worry Doll arguably isn't even a comic at all. When asked to describe a graphic novel, few readers' answers would remotely resemble this book. The art, while sequential, does not follow the comic book convention of panels and word balloons. Instead, the book is presented more or less in the format of a children's picture book; text on the left page accompanies full-page illustrations on the right.

 

The story is that of a serial killer traveling the English countryside with a suitcase full of creepy old dolls. His obsession with these toys is shown as he imagines them as his companions, and even sometimes sees real people as no more than dolls. The illustrations depict situations from this killer's point of view and the reader is thrown completely into his twisted version of reality. Coyle's drawings are surreal and strangely disturbing. The reader is truly immersed in the world of the story's unlikely protagonist.

 

The art lends so much to the fleshing out of the characters and feeling of the story that it could actually stand alone in a different context. Here though, the text also plays an important role in drawing the reader in. It is apparently dialogue from an interrogation of the man after being captured by police, and is just as disconcerting as the drawings it accompanies. At first, because it doesn't seem to have anything to do directly with what is happening in the art, the text is disorienting. As more is revealed about the character and situation however, it gives valuable insight into the character and why he does such terrible things.

 

Worry Doll is a challenging read, because there is no roadmap for an audience to follow; thrown into the world of a lunatic they must find their way alone. Even after multiple readings a reader may not really know what happened, but the plot really isn't what makes this book. Coyle's grasp on horror is very strong, and the atmospheric art and unsettling narration will stay with anyone who reads it. | Elizabeth Bolhafner

Click here to read a 15-page preview, courtesy of Mam Tor Publishing!

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