In Review – ‘Hauntings’ by Lise Richardson.

‘Hauntings’ aka ‘A Collection of 9 Lessons and Hauntings’.

Created by Lise Richardson.

92 pages – Full Colour – Perfect Bound.

£10.00 – 14.8cm x 14.8cm – printed on recycled paper throughout.

The Story – ‘Hauntings is a collection of 9 short autobiographical ghost story comics about living, walking, and running in and around the City of Bath (apart from one which is set in Finland in the past)’

The Review – This is a collection of stories all written , drawn and coloured by Lise. They were originally presented as part of her ongoing Patreon (which can be found here) and have now been collected into a lovely perfect bound square collection.

This is actually a collection of quite personal stories but ones that also have a spooky element to their telling. There is nothing ’18 rated’ here and the stories are told with an insightful gentleness. You also get a real sense of the setting in the city of Bath but mostly in the countryside surrounding the urban landscapes. A fair warning here is that if you are looking for bombastic action, explosions and rooftop ninjas you are in the wrong lane, move along now.

Sure, this is a comic that falls squarely in the small press/arts and crafts arena and I approach this review in the sure knowledge that it won’t be everyone’s cuppa but there was plenty here that kept me engaged on a rain-soaked Thursday afternoon.

Each page in the book represents a single panel in each of the short stories. Lise appears often on the page in the foreground but allows the scenery to become the eye-catching feature around her. She imbues each page with season setting colours and gorgeously reimagined landscapes. The words on the pages appear balloonless and are almost etched into or floating and form part of the mise en scène. There is a comforting counterpoint to be found between the more cartoony human artistic representations of Elise (and her dog Freija) and the more realistic surroundings with some lovely colour work.

Like a single painting on a comics page the images also have a great sense of framing. Whether it be Lise and her dog out for a walk over a cornfield and through some standing stones all the time against the looming summer sun or Elise out at night and looking up at the stars through the shadowed branches of a tree. Lise can really shape a page.

It is both that combination of art and inner monologue that make this such a lovely read during these times of social distancing. It gives us, the reader, a connection to another person/persons that is in all honesty quite touching. We’ve all headed out on our own to walk/ramble/run and discover new elements of our surroundings. I know in my case that the dog looks at me with a pleading intention when I pick up his lead. ‘Not another walk!’

I must also mention the format. This square book with it’s solid spine looks and feels great and makes for the ideal presentation of the stories. The chapter breaks are done with an eye to the consistent design of the cover and the book as a whole has a surprisingly weight to it.

Listen comics reader. This may not be for everyone. It’s quiet and at moments a little slow-paced for everyone’s tastes but I really enjoyed the read. There’s room for different story-telling in our medium and this book shows what detail and beauty you can put on a single page. It will improve your afternoon and you will spend time on each page. It’s also a book that you can return to and spot a little something else each time.

Highly recommended.

The Creator – ‘Lise Richardson is an illustrator who likes big hills and walking the dog, who is called Freija.’

You can find copies available at Lise’s website here and follow her on Twitter here.

And here’s that Patreon link again.

Many thanks for reading.

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