Written by Vera Greentea
Art by Laura Muller
Published by Greentea Publishing
The Story: Nenetl of the Forgotten Spirits is a spirited horror story about a ghost searching for her family during the festival of the Day of the Dead, while dodging ambitious exorcist apprentices. Vera Greentea (Recipes for the Dead, To Stop Dreaming of Goddesses) and talented German artist Laura Müller (Mega Man Tribute, Subway to Sally Storybook) collaborate to create an autumn-friendly tale of skulls and hope.
Issue One introduces the vivacious but forgotten ghost girl, Nena, as she explores the labyrinthine streets of Mexico during its most eerily evocative celebration and Bastian, the first of the exorcists speeding after her – completely for the wrong reason.
Issue Two brings in three devilish girls as they conspire to unlock the Forgotten Realm and invite a spirit into their world. Violetta, who dreams of becoming an exorcist apprentice like her older brother, wants to prove what she can do to her two gothic pals as they all get ready to celebrate Mexico’s eerie but gorgeous holiday, the Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos).
The Review: I met Vera Greentea at the New York Comicon last weekend (she was a table mate of Alex De Campi in a corner of artists alley). Speaking to the writer, who now lives in New Jersey after a move from St Petersburg, you cannot fail to be caught up in her enthusiasm. She literally grinned her way through the four long days of convention. Nenetl of the Forgotten Spirits is her self published ongoing comic. Issue two has recently been released and issue three is not far off.
The book is US comics size with 20 pages of story and added pin ups (priced at $6 or $1.99 for a digital copy). It tells the story of Nenetl, an ephemeral spirit like girl, dancing over roof tops and speaking in short mysterious sentences. She encounters a boy called Bastian and lures him into a spooky underground cave of skulls. I sense some fairy tale duality ahead?
“Can you tell the difference boy! Between the live and the dead. Can you tell?”
The book is centred around Mexican beliefs that a person dies three times. The first when the body stops it’s function, the second when that person is buried and the third and final death is when that person is forgotten. Both the story and art play on The Day of the Dead Festival showing us it’s traditions and motifs.
“On the Day of the Dead the shrouds between our worlds are the thinnest.
Issue 1 is a great character study of the titular central character that’s almost one breathless chase scene. A mysterious run through the City that ends on a cliffhanger. Issue 2 builds on a back story using inquisitive children who are more than they seem. It’s an inventive turnabout that gives way to a little bit of a sinister side of Nenetl and appearances of other characters.
It’s a joy to read and would be perfect as an all ages present. It’s an intelligently told fairy tale with a little bite here and there.
Laura Muller’s art bridges a fine line between traditional comics art work and animation cell colour that is both a feast for the eyes and a beautiful sequential spectacle, and has real pace to it. It’s like watching all the movement of Fantasia on a comics page. The use of colour and the light in each panel is outstandingly good.
Laura and Vera have also really worked on a stylistic flair to her characters who are individual, quirky and have a dash of cheekiness in each panel. It’s got sequential motion that’s ever whirling through from panel to panel. Just darn cute as well.
I have no doubt that this book will get picked up by a clever publishing house (Boom Studios / IDW, are you listening?) It’s got hit written all over it. An individual story told with sparky charm. It flows through the panels and off the page.
• You can find Laura on Tumblr at www.laumii.tumblr.com
Many thanks for reading.