Plucky cub reporter Henrietta Tilney sits face to face with accused mass murderer Lord Beowulf Harwood. An interview she hoped would launch her writing career soon explodes into a whirlwind of deadly adventure, taking Tilney and the mysterious Harwood across Victorian London.
Writer: David Doub
Illustrator: Sarah Elkins (main story); Danielle Alexis St. Pierre (flashbacks)
Publisher: Dusk Comics
If there was one word that I would use to describe this book, it would be fun. Fun is a strange word, because it means different things to different people, but frankly I don’t think any of the other options rattling about in my head would work quite as well. I think that quirky and interesting would both work, but not nearly as well as fun.
How is it fun, you ask? And will it be fun for me? Honestly, I don’t know. I am working with my own bizarre use of the word, which means that there is something about the penny dreadful nature of the book that just appeals to me. I have kind of been a huge sucker for the pulpy, less-than-glamorous, but still wildly enjoyable area of the written word for some time now. The Trials and Tribulations of Miss Tilney was right up my alley, having a bit of bizarre mystery, a dash of the over-the-top and a smidgeon of steampunk. I’m not going to say that it is a book that everyone is going to love or even find the same enjoyment that I did, but if you’re willing to go out a little bit out of your comfort zone, then I definitely recommend it.
Give me a moment while I gush a little about the art. Art can make or break a good story and Sarah Elkin’s art is kind of beautiful. It’s visually stimulating without being a distraction, fitting the tone of the story rather than working in opposition to it. There’s a decidedly Victorian sort of bent to it, which goes along fabulously with the setting. The story itself picks up in the middle, with little back story or introduction for Miss Tilney, but it very quickly sets us going on the case that she is investigating. There were times where I was a little confused as to who was who and what was going on (I had to go back and reread), but I am going to say that it works for the story. We know who Miss Tilney is (intrepid reporter and keeper of an amazing nonplussed ‘nothing I haven’t seen before’ face while rocking a great hairstyle) and what she’s after, so she’s our window into the rest of the world. There is a bit of a novella-type flashback story at the end of the book, which was interesting but the cliffhanger in the main story left me itching for more. There’s a hint of steampunk without it ever being clarified if it is meant to be, which is fine. I would’ve preferred a little more clarity as to why Miss Tilney was so quick to side with the Lord and Doctor, but I’ll allow it. After all when it comes to penny dreadfuls, thinking too much about them is only bound to ruin the fun.
It’s something new and has something to it that I can’t quite put my finger on it, so I will definitely be checking out the next issue. I suggest that you definitely check it out, especially if you’re in the mood to give an indie comic a little love. It definitely won’t be boring.
The Trials and Tribulations of Miss Tilney is now for sale on both Amazon and B&N.com