Becky Cloonan has been making comics, as well as a name for herself, for some time. Her works range across the board and includes major superhero titles with DC and Marvel, off-the-wall collaborations like American Virgin and The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, book covers and illustrations, contributions to comics anthologies, and self-published minicomics under her own heading Ink and Thunder.
Cloonan is well known for her gorgeous and sensual illustrations, her ability to write gripping suspense, and, among her self-published works, a stylish and imaginative grasp of fantasy (with a dash of horror thrown in for good measure).
Recently, I was inspired to purchase her three critically acclaimed minicomics “Wolves“, “The Mire“, and “Demeter.” Each comic is its own contained short story focusing on a different manner of monster or mythical creature.
In “Wolves” a man hunts a dangerous beast through the woods and reflects on a past love. Eisner Award-Nominated “The Mire” follows a young squire as he attempts to deliver a letter through a famously haunted swamp. And in the tragic and beautiful “Demeter,” a fisherman’s wife attempts to hide a treacherous secret from her beloved while struggling to maintain a hold on the unspoken forces binding him to her.
Cloonan’s works are unfailingly luscious and romantic, while all maintaining an impending sense of dread that seeps through every page. Her style makes brilliant use of non-linear storytelling and circular, often cryptic narration that becomes clearer with each reread. Most of all, Cloonan’s minicomics are the perfect exercise in how ingeniously comics can tell a story, the images moving seamlessly with the narration and yet managing to tell their own story independent of the (often flawed) perspectives of the people in them.
While these comics were assembled in a limited hardcover collection titled “By Chance or Providence,” which is unfortunately no longer available, all three can be purchased both in print at The Werehouse and for digital download on Comixology, which I highly recommend.