Review: I Tell You It’s Love by Joe R. Lansdale & Daniele Serra

I TELL YOU IT’S LOVE

Joe R. Lansdale
Adapted and illustrated by Daniele Serra
Short Scary Tales Publications

Dark moments seem like sweetness and light to lovers who dance to the beat of a dying heart. Ugly is beauty to them, horror is their laughter, and souls, dark or bright need not apply.

This new collaboration between Lansdale and Serra is a marvel. I’ve been a fan of Lansdale’s forever: his writing mixes up horror and humour with a deceptively nonchanlant style that’s unmistakable as it is enjoyable. Serra is newer to me — I first came across his work as a cover artist for Fox Spirit Books on the BFSA-nominated Tales of Eve and the forthcoming European Monsters. His style is just as unmistakable — arresting, dark and full of atmosphere. The two together create a dark magic that delights even as it harrows.

It’s the hap-hap-happiest time of the year and all Gloria wants for Christmas is pain and more pain. And then maybe someone else’s pain. He thinks she has “no eyes, just sparkles of light where they should have been” and he’s ready to give her all the pain she wants. In a lost town where bats seem to infest every skyline and even the room where the two of them play their games. Serra’s watercolours convey a world where everyone juts out sharp edges and wisps of shadow, as if the things that linger in their wake have presence. “The dripping blood and the long sharp knives that murmured through flesh like a lover’s whisper cutting the dark.” Love is a pain but pain is a drug. And like all drugs it loses its power the more you get. How much is too much?

The words and images will haunt you, but you won’t want to look away. You could frame every page of this book and create a gallery, preferably down a stairwell to make a grim descent — but you might not be able to make it back up again.

I TELL YOU IT’S LOVE – Lansdale/Serra
Graphic Novel Series #3
Publisher: Short, Scary Tales Publications
Subject: Horror
Release Date: November 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-909640-24-5, Oversized Hardcover (8 x 11 inches), Full Colour, 94 pages, £19.95

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