Lacrimancer

Review by Kristopher Johnson

Story, characters, and art: Jade F. Lee

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Ever come up with a scenario in your head and think, “Now that would make a great movie!”? You might have a pretty ample imagination. And you’re human, so you’ve had your share of emotional episodes. With those two combined, my head can become full of sensational scenarios of why I feel the way I do and how I am affected by other people. But no one can see what’s going on in my head. If that was possible, I would be better understood, or deemed totally crazy. Here’s a creative way to turn crying into something compelling beyond the surface: Get into the head of a lacrimancer!  Lee takes us through an alluring feature of what happens when a girl transforms her tears into a magical interpretation of the relationship between her and the one she loves.

Two young girls are depicted as gods infatuated with one another: An adventurous girl who acts on impulse and another who is more cautious and openly emotional. The two stop by a karaoke machine, and we are taken into a fantasy where the world around them becomes manipulated through the lacrimancer’s emotions.

Most of the comic is written in cento form composed of verses from various songs. At first it did not flow very well because I read it as the songs were originally sung. It became easier as I came across verses and quotes I was not familiar with, and I read it as if reading a poem for the first time. Then it all made sense. The lyrics indeed go along with their feelings and surroundings. For example, during a scene where they are sitting together, the text “So how about we become monsters together, and turn this world upside down?” is present as the lacrimancer is being comforted by her love. A few pages later, the text, “what good is love if it burns bright and explodes in flames?” is encompassed by panels of the girls having an altercation. The quotes are from popular anime Madoka Magica, and R&B artist Janelle Monáe. Each embodies the quality of the piece, as well as most of the others. Not all of the verses are from lyrics and poems. Others are quotes from motion pictures, which does not go along with the idea of a karaoke machine and makes it an untraditional cento. I had not heard of the quotes before reading the comic, so I had little to no problem following the story.

The cover alone is a reason to keep this comic on display. I was immediately drawn to the beautiful grayscale with a splash (literally) of selective neon. Even though the belly of the comic is black and white, the cover had set a good tone for the rest of the art narrative. The use of cursive lines for the characters cooperates with the drama of the nature around them. The characters’ personalities are well constructed around the art. I appreciate how she uses round, soft surroundings for one, and sharp, hard edges for the other. I love it when I can understand a character with sheer artistic presentation. I can tell Lee really thought hard about this creation. Great details!

I appreciate how Lee showed different ways tears can be represented. Every tear serves as a different causation, whether we feel helpless or fear we would hurt someone we love. This read will make your eyes dance from page to page, and leave you with a good playlist of music and Netflix recommendations.

Learn more about Lacrimancer here.

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