Maria Llovet’s work has a sort of beautiful, ethereal quality to it, and Porcelain proves to be no exception. The tale is a mix of fantasy and imaginative horror which, after its first issue, leaves a tantalizing amount to the imagination.
The comic begins with a six panel, one page sequence that has a dream-like quality to it. A young girl looks over her shoulder and the words “run run” appear beside her in red as though spoken by someone else. The background is black and we see doll parts, blood, and a flower-adorned, doll-like girl. It’s clear that this isn’t a dream but, rather, a nightmare.
Porcelain, page 1
The next page drops us into the bright skies of the desert, where a girl named Beryl is reclining on the roof of her aunt’s home, accompanied by her loyal black cat companion. Beryl’s aunt berates her for wasting her life by just lying around all the time and tells her to go to the store to get some oil. Reluctantly, Beryl agrees and heads to the small ramshackle store with her cat, whose name we learn is Raubritter, at her side.
Cover B, also by Llovet, shows Raubritter
It seems that this tale takes place in some sort of dystopian future, or perhaps a different type of world altogether. Beryl pays the old man at the store for the oil by giving him a star-shaped coin or trinket of some sort and the entire setting just has sort of cataclysmic feel to it. It really feels as though Beryl’s story has the potential to only be a small part of the overall narrative of this place and that there’s a lot more to explore here. Unfortunately, Llovet doesn’t give us any kind of background about the world that Porcelain takes place in. At least, not in this first issue. Which is sort of a shame because the setting seems so intriguing, but it’s understandable that there just wasn’t space to tell all of that. I’m hoping that we’ll get to know more about this world at a later point in the series, however.
Porcelain gets especially captivating when Beryl and Raubritter are on their way home from the store. Beryl hears music playing in the distance and follows it to a strange structure that’s somehow just set itself down in the middle of the desert. The building resembles a house with wheels, but it’s covered in doll parts, the front door a gaping mouth with the word Dollhouse above it.
Beryl and Raubritter
Beryl is transfixed by this house. She sets down the bucket of oil and steps towards it, both curious and enrapt. Once she ventures close enough, a giant tongue slips from the house’s open mouth and wraps itself around both Beryl and Raubritter, drawing them inside.
The Dollhouse, sans color
A brilliant thing about this comic is that you see our heroine and her cat being pulled into the Dollhouse and, once you turn the page, you find yourself in the Dollhouse with her. Once inside the Dollhouse, the edges of the pages go from the bright white of the desert to black. The images within are reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, although an even creepier version of the already somewhat unusual Lewis Carroll classic.
Llovet’s depictions of the Dollhouse are wonderfully macabre. It’s a menagerie of broken and augmented beings. Now comes the true heart of the tale, where Beryl is forced to face her darkest fears if she hopes to escape the Dollhouse before it consumes her. Perfect for fall and the start of “spooky season,” Porcelain promises to be an eerie tale that will draw you in and captivate you with gorgeous, unique artwork and a compelling story. You can pick up issue one now, and issue two is available in stores tomorrow, September 15th.
Porcelain issue 2 cover A
Angela “LaLa” Rairden is an avid fan of comic books, Star Wars, and most things nerdy. A cosplayer, she loves to attend comic cons dressed as her favorite fictional characters, particularly Harley Quinn. Although her day job is at a grocery store, writing has always been her true calling. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she is currently writing her first novel.