The Imaginary F(r)iend of your Dreams (Nightmares)

Panther by Brecht Evens

panthercoverThis is one of those books that is so incredibly hard to rate. It has so many things going for it, but the story. Oh, the story. Those that have a difficult time with with trauma, particularly when linked with children, may have to avoid this one altogether. Learning more about the book may help soften the blow, but from personal experience I can tell you it’s not by much. I’m not going to give any more details about it because, like I said, this book can produce quite the emotional reaction that I don’t want to alter by giving my summary.

I’ll just give you my reaction to it: staying up at night, tossing and turning. The feel of it lingering for a few days. Haunting could be one way to describe it. And even though it wasn’t a positive emotional reaction, I think you have to give credit where credit is due when a short little story can produce so much of it.

pantherinterior_21A lot of that emotion comes from the way this story is presented. The title of this post should hint to the subtle (then increasingly overt) malice found in this book. Don’t let the bright and colorful cover resembling a children’s book fool you. If anything, it only adds to your feelings of unease. I typically don’t go for graphic novels, but these images add so much depth to the story (and your feelings of unease). The panther himself is the perfect example of Evens ability. In one spread alone, Panther is drawn in a completely different way each time, hinting at the feline’s chameleon-like nature, and you start to worry about what that may mean.

It’s certainly not a book to leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling. But does such a good job in not doing that. Consider this both a recommendation and a warning.

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