Daphne Byrne – A Graphic Novel Review
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About Daphne Byrne
Daphne Byrne is written by Laura Marks, with art by Kelley Jones, colors by Michelle Madsen and letters by Rob Leigh. It is published by DC Black Label and is part of Joe Hill’s Hill House Comics Imprint.
SYNOPSIS: When grieving, support can come in many ways. For Daphne, it came as a demon.
Turn-of-the-century New York is a growing metropolis for many, but not for Daphne Byrne. After her father’s death, her mother is drawn to a piritualistic group that claims to speak to the dead. Daphne sees through their act right away, but something from the other side sees her too. Or someone? Daphne finds herself in new company, Brother. He offers support and encourages Daphne to stand up for herself…and to use the powers he has too.
The Daphne Byrne Graphic Novel will be available from November 3rd, 2020.
Daphne Byrne Review
Gothic horror, the occult, and a young woman’s coming-of-age story, Daphne Byrne stands out from the rest of the Hill House comics, while simultaneously fitting in perfectly. This one is a bit more of a slow burn descent into darkness instead of hitting the ground running full speed, like several of the other series have. But it works, fleshing out the atmosphere, and giving the story some background to add depth.
We get a good feel for the main character, Daphne Byrne. Her mother is a grief stricken widow that cannot properly take care of herself or her daughter. Daphne struggles with the circumstances surrounding her father’s death, and visits her father’s headstone often, asking for guidance. Through this, along with several other examples, we gather how devoted she was to her father, as well as how different from “normal” girls she is. We can tell she’s quite intelligent, especially compared to her interactions with most – if not all – adults she encounters.
Having the legendary artist Kelley Jones doing the art for this one was a real treat, especially for me. The art is brilliant. The gorgeous, dark, gothic Victorian style gave so much to the story. Eerie but unique, the variety of horrors brought to life on the page will haunt you. The shadows themselves even begin to feel like they’re characters themselves, and perhaps the are. You’ll have to read for yourself and see what you think.
Daphne Byrne is definitely it’s own story, but does remind me of a cross between several things, including Locke & Key (a Joe Hill comic, and then Netflix series), and Nightmares & Fairy Tales: 1140 Rue Royale by Serena Valentino. The entity known as “Brother” is reminiscent of the main protagonist in Locke & Key, and the eerie, haunting situations in 1140 Rue Royale came to mind for me several times while reading. Either way, if you’re a fan of these works, then Daphne Byrne may be for you.
Gothic horror, cults, and a young girl’s struggles in a time that was very difficult for young girls, Daphne Byrne is a fantastic read. Prepare for twists and turns, stunning work all around, and a wild ending befitting the Hill House books. Grab this one in stores November 3rd, 2020.
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