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The BLOOD MOON, YETI LITE REVIEW

Writer: Ruru

Artists: SANHO, Misa, Nezi, NZ, Juseon, MAX, TABUN, suban, Mimi, Yunji, Shark, Godnyang, Dani, Soo, & Woo

Publisher: Manta

The cover image for The Blood Moon by Manta Comics
The Blood Moon Cover Image, Manta Comics

WHAT IS IT?

“The Blood Moon” is a supernatural fantasy romance in a world of slowly creeping horror.

It’s got the wealthy family mystery and romance of Jane Eyre with a gothic aesthetic, but the mystery is vampires instead of a wife in the attic.


WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

(Minor spoilers)

The main character, Linnea, is sent off by her uncle to be married to the much older Count Mattei in a faraway, decrepit area of the kingdom. While this sounds like a classic set up of an arranged marriage leading to real love, this story actually has the Count’s son Aleksis set up as the love interest. Love is far from the first thing on Linnea’s mind, though. With a head maid hell-bent on causing mischief between Linnea and Aleksis while warning her to never go to the third floor without permission, Linnea has to keep her head held high to avoid being sent back to her uncle.


The atmosphere darkens as Linnea learns about the enigmatic religion the Mattei family follows and the temple to it on the forbidden third floor. This may remind readers of the story of Bluebeard’s Bride, since Linnea isn’t the Count’s first wife and it seems that the consequences of her visiting the temple may be severe. Whether she has the wherewithal to shoulder her newfound responsibilities or she’ll crumble under the pressure and guilt from her interest in Aleksis is yet to be seen.



WHAT WORKS

  • A great deal of credit should be given to the writer Ruru as it’s easy for a romance with a sort of narrative gimmick to feel like the two parts are disjointed, like the horror or fantasy interrupts the romance or vice versa, but so far the two elements integrate and meld well. Any romance moment is tinged with foreboding and concern, letting it blend with the tension of the setting.

  • As with many of the Manta original series that I’ve looked at, the art is very rich in detail. It clearly takes a village to get this sort of quality, given the sheer number of artists on the project. From the original storyboard (SANHO), to the 3D modeling and placement (Mimi, Yunji, Shark, Godnyang, suban, Dani), to the line art (Misa, Nezi, and NZ), and the background art (Soo, Woo), this is clearly a labor of love.

  • The colors by MAX, TABUN, and Juseon especially add richness to the experience. While the colors tend to be muted, adding to the dreary atmosphere, it allows the pops of blood red or classic romance-filtered glamor shots to really stand out.

  • While no letterer is specifically credited, the lettering is still very crisp and clear. Crammed spacing in vertical comics can be difficult to avoid, so it’s nice to have consistent breathing room and scroll space.

  • Though the story has just started, the slow trickle of information it gives does spark intrigue and makes me want to keep reading.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK

  • CW: Blood, emotional abuse and physical abuse.

  • There’s a possibility that Linnea’s relationship to the enigmatic religion of the Mattei’s could develop into religious trauma, especially since reading its scriptures causes her literal physical pain.

  • Despite the fact that several chapters have already been released and should provide plenty of reference for it, it’s difficult to get a grasp of the personality of the characters. This is especially a concern with Linnea, who so far has just reacted to her surroundings with stoicism and passive nervousness, and her love interest Aleksis whose main traits seem to be “mysterious” and “hot”.

  • Also, if you aren’t into step-family relationship shenanigans, give this one a pass. Linnea and Lord Mattei don’t have a proper married relationship and her and Aleksis are around the same age so they don’t have a familial dynamic, but he does call her “mother” multiple times and I wouldn’t blame someone for being put off by that.


WHY SHOULD I READ IT?


The baroque nature of gothic horror and romance are often lost in modernizations of vampires, but “The Blood Moon” dives head-first into the classics of the aesthetic. The fine lines and abundant details create a richly brocaded world with bloodstains hidden just beneath the fancy wallpaper. It all works together to make a disquieting aura that never lets you feel safe, even when seemingly fluffy romance moments play out. A litany of taboos are faced head on with the sensual danger inherent in vampire stories and with a bit more delicacy than some other romances that deal with sensitive subjects. It isn’t perfect by any means, there is definitely space for the characters to grow and become more defined, but from the dexterity of the writing so far it is clear that this development isn’t out of reach for Ruru.


Vampires have a lasting place in horror and romance fantasies, with different forms of the creature developing for different purposes. “The Blood Moon” touches on a myriad of tropes from the different archetypes in order to build a unique world and interpretation of the monster that will leave classic vampire fans wondering what comes next.


ABOUT THE CREATORS

Manta is a vertical scroll comic platform that's been making an effort to expand its in-house production lately and "The Blood Moon" is one of its newest additions. Traditionally, the company had a particular focus on translating Korean manhwa into various languages and the vertical scroll format but now wants to have some works all its own. Given the platform's popularity it has the resources to bring a lot of unique work to the public and using those resources it has the ability to pour as much effort and as many artists as it takes to make a polished product. Since "The Blood Moon" was made by Manta's internal production and most, if not all, of the creatives involved use pseudonyms without obvious connection to any online presence or other works of theirs, it may be difficult to find works done by the same people. One can only hope that as Manta's production teams become more prolific that these names will have many credited works to enjoy.


HOW DO I BUY IT?

“The Blood Moon” is available online at manta.net or through Manta’s app. The first three episodes (including the prologue) are free while the rest currently require an unlimited subscription which costs $4.99 per month.


The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.


All Trojan characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright of AWA Studios or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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