Grit Palace

Sand Castle by Frederik Peeters and Pierre Oscar Lévy. SelfMadeHero, 2011. 9781906838386.

I just finished the fourth and final volume of Frederik Peeters’ science fiction graphic novel series, aama. Here’s a link to my review of the first two volumes.  All I can say about the fourth book without spoilers is: 1) Wow! and 2) it reminded me of the best and weirdest dream sequences written by Grant Morrison and of the Prophet graphic novels by Graham and Roy. If that means nothing to you, ignore me — I’m just saying I highly recommend the series and it’s pretty weird. After finishing this book, I put a hold on everything written by Peeters in the Seattle Public Library’s collection.

This black and white standalone graphic novel was drawn but not written by Peeters. The action centers on a beach where a young woman drowned. The only person who saw her was an Arab man sleeping rough, and as families arrive for a day in the sun, he doesn’t want to say anything lest he be blamed. (He is, anyway.) After the woman’s body is discovered, things get weird. Phones don’t work. No one can leave the area. And everyone starts aging very rapidly, including the two children. It’s like a terribly strange, dark, very adult, and completely unrelenting episode of The Outer Limits. (You probably thought I was going to reference The Twilight Zone. I remember Outer Limits episodes were always a a bit longer, and this feels more like that than a short Twilight Zone episode.) Peeters art is amazing in the way he shows emotions, maintains the creepiness, and keeps the characters identifiable even as they age.

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