GRAPHIC NOVELS

The Man Who Came Down the Attic Stairs

Archaia. Sept. 2019. 48p. ISBN 9781684153527. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781641443357. Rated: M. HORROR
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Emma is having the time of her life. Events are unfolding like a beautiful dream, with a newly purchased house in the country, a loving husband, Thomas, and a baby on the way. When the happy day arrives, however, circumstances begin to whittle her idylls away one by one. The newborn cries nonstop, so much so that there is no activity that frees Emma from the omnipresent sound. Perhaps even more troubling is the day that Thomas goes upstairs to the attic, after which Emma hears strange sounds that frighten her. As she rushes upstairs, Thomas meets her on the stairs and is strangely subdued and distant. She senses that something is amiss with her partner, and believes she can see misshapen undulating shapes where her husband’s head should be. Could this explain why the baby never rests, because the terrorized tot knows that her father is no longer human?
VERDICT Sporting elusive black-and-white art that utilizes the power of the comic form to heighten the emotional resonance of the story, Loup (Bad Boyfriends) creates a strikingly literary horror by externalizing and incarnating the miasma of postpartum depression. A solid addition for adult graphic novel collections.

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