Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Ilias Kyriazis
WHAT IS IT?
A trippy erotic horror graphic novel that explores the parts of life that happen in little moments.
Think the surreal sexiness of Faithless mixed with the wonky timeline mystery of Russian Doll.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Chloe is a single mom in Chicago working two jobs while also trying to start her own fashion line. On one particularly stressful and rainy night after work, Chloe stops at a bar where she meets the mysterious and charming Heath Doran and impulsively goes home with him. In the morning, she takes his phone number but makes no promises to see him again.
Chloe comes home to her teenage daughter, Kai, who is in tears after attending a party where she saw her boyfriend with another girl. After a shouting match, Kai says that she knows that Chloe never wanted her and that she’s going to stay with her grandmother. With Kai gone, Chloe scrambles for her anxiety medication but is confronted with a horrific ghost who cryptically tells her that something is missing from her life.
Meanwhile, Heath takes some time to recover from his tryst with Chloe and seems to have taken much more than pleasure from the experience.
Seeley perfectly strikes the balance between metaphorical and character-driven storytelling. Each thematic point comes through clearly without sacrificing the complexity of the characters.
Kyriazis absolutely nails the body horror elements of this book, often filling the entire page with bodies in wild states of gross decomposition and disintegration with an uncanny attention to detail.
In emotionally or physically intense moments, be they positive or negative, Kyriszis uses a vivid red that stands out against the mostly cool color palette.
Crank’s letters often add to the discomfort of the more horrific scenes, with the font changing to be more jagged, and even occasionally appearing upside-down and backward.
The relationships between Chloe, her mother, and her daughter, Kai are all complex and intriguing. Kai’s tensions with Chloe are mirrored in Chloe’s relationship with her own mother, despite Chloe’s attempts to be a different kind of parent.
Chronophage masterfully flips between tones, moving between spicy scenes, scenes of upsetting body horror, and emotional, heart-to-heart conversations. The constant shifting adds to the sense of unease.
Kyriazis’ layouts clearly communicate the wonkiness of time in a variety of interesting ways. In some cases, it’s repeating the composition of one panel in another, but changing the characters to blend multiple instances of time together. In other places, the comic panels become the timeline itself, with some pages including entire mini-comic flashbacks.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
CONTENT WARNING: This book contains graphic sex and gore, as well as an instance of suicide.
In rainy scenes, the contrast between Chloe and the raindrops is a bit too high. The light blue raindrops on Chloe’s dark brown skin sometimes cloud and distract from her expressions.
For the most part, the story shows how Heath is influencing and adjusting Chloe’s life. However, at a turning point in the story, Chloe’s clothes get featured by a fashion blogger and it feels more like a lucky break than it does a wish-granting timeline adjustment, despite the story seeming to credit Heath with this change.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Chronophage is sexy, it’s gory, and it offers a unique perspective on life and surviving it. It asks you to look at life as little pieces and think about what could happen if some of those pieces are taken away. Who would you be if you hadn’t answered that phone call? Where would you be if you never met your best friend?
At the heart of the Chronophage is Chloe, who is such a brilliantly drawn character, both figuratively and literally. Her relationships with her mother and Kai are complex and flawed, and her relationship with motherhood is equally nuanced and intriguing. Heath, on the other hand, seems too good to be true from the jump, but it’s hard to put your finger on what he wants and what he’s doing. Chloe’s consistent earnestness juxtaposed against Heath’s hidden secret makes for delicious tension.
Seeley and Kyriazis blend mystery, sex, gore, and unique relationships to create a wild genre-bending ride that horror fans will love.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Revival by Tim Seeley & Mike Norton
There’s Nothing There by Patrick Kindlon & Maria Llovet
Panorama by Michael Fiffe
If you like the art:
Collapser by Mikey Way, Shaun Simon & Ilias Kyriazis
Lonely Reciever by Zac Thompson & Rye Hickman
Hollow Heart by Allor Tucker & Paul Tucker
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Tim Seeley (@HackinTimSeeley) – Writer
In addition to writing comics, Tim Seeley also draws them. Some credits include G.I. Joe, WildCATS, and Ant-Man & Wasp.
Seeley lives in Chicago, IL where Chronophage is set.
Ilias Kyriazis (@IliasKyriazis) – Artist
Illias Kyriazis lives in Athens, Greece.
Though he now mostly works for American publishers, he got his start making comics in the Greek comics scene by winning a contest run by the national newspaper Eleytherotypia and AKTO Art & Design College.
Crank! (@ccrank) – Letterer
In addition to comic book lettering, Crank! also makes music with the group Sono Morti & co-hosts a podcast called the Crankcast.
He has also worked with Seeley on Hack/Slash and Revival.
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