Improper Book’s first hardback publication, Night Post, has been on limited release for some time now but it is just about to become available to a wider audience through Diamond. Writer Benjamin Read, of Porcelain, Butterfly Gate and the recent Briar, teams up here with artist Laura Trinder to create a silent all ages tale of how the post is delivered to ‘ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night’.
Reviewing silent comics can often prove to be a frustrating experience given that there are no names of characters or locales to use in the review. However with Night Post they are not needed as this is the tale of a special night time postman who delivers the mail to the creatures of legend, fairy tale, literature and horror. Yet despite all this it remains a book that is really suitable for all ages.
Having tucked his daughter safely up in her bed and kissed his wife good-bye, our (almost) fearless postman enters the locked basement of his local sorting office to collect his post for the evening and then, on the stroke of midnight, sets out on his round. The book then begins a long run of vignettes of the postman delivering to many different customers – ghosts, a troll, a mummy, a vampire, a dragon and such like. These vignettes can last from a single panel up to several pages depending on what happens at each location, before the weary postman returns home at dawn in a conclusion that will bring a smile to the reader’s face.
As these vignettes take the reader through the book, writer Benjamin Read draws from literary and filmic sources such as Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit, The Borrowers, The Hound of The Baskervilles, Frankenstein, Harry Potter, Narnia, The Wizard of Oz, Nosferatu, The Wolfman, and The Creature From The Black Lagoon, while fairy tales covered include Jack and the Beanstalk, Three Billy Goats Gruff, and The Owl And The Pussycat.
Artist Laura Trinder takes these ideas and runs with them adding what must be many of her own ideas and rarely allowing a frame, once the postman is out on his round, to be quiet – despite the lack of text and sound effects. Owls fly over, rats scurry by, mice fly around in a Montgolfier balloon and, in the only two page spread of the book, a cathedral’s multiple cherubs and gargoyles fight each other with arrows and masonry.
Two sections perhaps stand out the most for me – the delivery to the ghosts who live in the ruins of Borley Rectory, a house once reputed to be the most haunted in England, and for who the postman has to ‘kill’ the letter so the ethereal residents can hold and read it, and the delivery of bubble bath to a Lido where what the reader may initially believe to be mermaids turn out to be sirens and how the postman manages to block out their song.
Night Post is a delight to read, crammed full of references and in-jokes for its older readers and never once too scary for its younger readers. Despite any initial reaction to its subject matter, this really is a book for all ages.
• There are more details of Laura Trinder’s work on her website.
• There are more details of Benjamin Read’s work on his website.
• There are more details of Night Post and a preview version of the book on the Improper Books website.
• Night Post is scheduled for release via Diamond on Wednesday, 9th December 2015 (Diamond code: OCT151509)
• Improper Books will be at Thought Bubble in Leeds over the weekend of 14/15 November 2015 and will have copies of Night Post, as well as all their other titles, for sale. They will be at tables 47 and 48 in the New Dock Hall