I first came across Julia Gfrörer’s work in Thickness #3 and Black Eye 2. While I liked the moodiness of the period art in Thickness and appreciated the story in Black Eye, the comics didn’t leave a lasting impression. A few months later, a review of her work came down my Twitter feed that made me more curious about her comics.
Flesh and Bone was indeed, quite the happy discovery. It’s an intelligent and erotic tale about a witch whose services are called upon by a brooding young man in order to reunite with his dead lover.
In a mere 40 pages, Flesh and Bone manages to cram in elements that would pique my interest were they explored on their own, nevermind all at once: sex intermingled with death, arcane rituals, unexpected violence, a smart ass demi-god, a self assured woman and a suffering, lovesick man. Stories featuring the supernatural, nevermind those with a romantic element, can so easily veer into the realm of the clichéd, ridiculous and overwrought. But Flesh and Bone’s tight narrative and smart dialogue deftly avoids such traps.
The art itself is rendered with spindly, scratchy pen work that reminds me vaguely of Edward Gorey; both styles manage to impart a sense of foreboding and a kind of bleakness that cancels out any potential for melodrama.
I bought my copy of Flesh and Bone from Quimby’s. It’s also available for purchase from Sparkplug’s website. Other works by Gfrörer are available in her Etsy store; I’ll add that my order of her minicomic was shipped promptly.