Western Comic: When I Arrived at the Castle (English)

May 23rd, 2019

Despite the increase in lesbian vampire (or not-a-vampire) stories in recent years, there has not yet been a lesbian horror renaissance. Recently in a twitter conversation several folks were speaking about how in many genres including, but not limited to, both BL and Yuri, horror is often transformed into something “sexy.” As a result, the horror of that horror is never fully felt or addressed, because its presented to the reader wrapped in a cloth of sexual desire.

In my TCAF panel with creator Emily Carrol, (a recording of which you can listen to, thanks to Jamie Coville!) she made the point that, for her, horror must be unresolvable for it to work.  And for me, the horror must have lingering discomfort or it’s just fear and not “horror.” When I Arrived in the Castle ticks all these boxes.

We begin in the middle of a story, one for which we will learn a beginning, but not the beginning and for which we will never truly know the end. An apparently nervous cat-woman arrives at a castle where a predatory female something will taunt her emotionally and physically. Maybe she and we will learn a truth, but never the truth.

Presented in black, white and red, with a variety of visual styles, the art leaves us as unmoored as the narrative and prose.

All though the narrative progresses in a straightforward fashion, the tale is nonlinear and climax does not bring resolution or knowledge. In the end, we are left with unanswered questions, unquestionable feelings and a pervading sense of having seen something, but what, exactly we’d be hard pressed to describe. 

If you are interested in lesbian horror, this is about as close to and as far from Carmilla (original novel or recent web series based on it) as you can get at the same time.

Ratings:

Art – 9
Story – 9
Characters – ????
Service – 6 There are nudity and sexual situations, but whether it’s salacious really depends upon you
Lesbian – Yuppers

Overall – 9

 

This is a brilliant work of horror and you should all read it to learn something about yourself.

 

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2 Responses

  1. Super says:

    “As a result, the horror of that horror is never fully felt or addressed, because its presented to the reader wrapped in a cloth of sexual desire.”

    Well, at the time when I was fascinated by vampires and gothic culture, such plots were often explained either by a desire to metaphorically communicate homosexuality or suppressed sexual desire in general. Hence, by the way, the frequent interpretation of vampirism as a metaphor for seduction and intimate desire.

    However, after the trend for vampire homoeroticism in women’s literature, most people began to think that such archetypes didn’t pursue any goals other than indulging in audience fetishes.

    So, to be honest, I do not know how this should be considered now. I like the elements of vampire horror in a Class S setting or work with male homoeroticism in an Interview with the Vampire, but that’s where my knowledge ends.

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