By Dustin Cabeal
Gently Murder Me is one of the most interesting breakup stories I’ve ever read in comic form. There are several short stories that make up the book, and each features a different artist, but all have a unifying style and design.
Each story is in a way just a day in the life of the main character as she attempts to get over a breakup. What’s interesting is the stories don’t focus on why exactly things ended. How they got there or anything other than the emotions being dealt with in these moments. It's very effective, these small little scenes. They give an interesting insight into the character’s mind. Is it autobiographical? Possibly, but that didn’t matter to me while I read it. It was more of just how human the emotions were, how real the actions they character was taking were. Break ups are one of the most relatable things in the world because the majority of people have experienced at least once in their lifetime. If they haven’t, then they’re a lucky bastard that should be looked down upon for all their days. Just kidding or something.
The artwork is what makes Gently Murder Me so powerful. Each artist is extremely talented and elevates the story. Rarely does the narration tie directly into what’s happening on the page. There’s instead a lot of abstract images and visual metaphors that bring the narration to life. It intentionally has a notebook feel to it, but there’s more to it than that. Each page is a work of art, a collage of elements and feelings all brought together. Each artist is extremely talented, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I see more work from each of them in the future.
My only gripe with Gently Murder Me is that it feels too short. I didn’t mind that the same emotion was repeated over and over because it tied into how the character felt, trapped in the same heartbroken loop. It’s incredibly relatable, and anyone that’s been there themselves knows how difficult it is to think of something else. But it does feel as if one more story was needed. Not for a conclusion but just because the last story feels too abstract, another tale to bring everything back down to a relatable emotional journey would have closed the story out nicely.
Otherwise, I found Gently Murder Me to be a strange treat. It’s far more professional than looking than a lot of books we are sent, but the as I said, the collection isn’t perfect. I could easily see a publisher asking for more, but still enjoying what’s there, just like myself. It’s relatable and well produced so check it out.
Gently Murder Me
Writer: Rebecca Epstein
Artists: Kathryn Briggs, Blakely Inberg, Edgar Vega, Mary Safro