[Comic Review] Behemoth's 'A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night: Vol 1' is the Perfect Companion Piece to the Film
Ana Lily Amirpour’s 2014 film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night was a force when it arrived, a unique and wonderful Iranian vampire tale with all of the dialogue spoken in Farsi...
...It made its rounds being critically acclaimed and still holds a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. There is something profound about the simplicity of the tale that is told predominantly in moods and measured restraint. Behemoth Comics has now released a comic book written by Amirpour, with art by Michael Deweese, and, while it may be just as light on dialogue as the film, where words are left out, the depth of emotion and intention is evident on every page. Sometimes it is the things left unsaid that can have the most profound effect in art. This is the strength of Amirpour’s film, and it’s the strength of the comic she helped create.
Volume One of A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night collects the first two issues of what seems to be an ongoing series that further explores the Iranian fictional town of Bad City, and the titular Girl. The first issue, entitled Death Is the Answer, takes place before the film and opens with the Girl meeting a cat while telling the reader about her plans to hunt down human life. She isn’t interested in hunting all human life, however. Only those who take advantage of or hurt others.
The comic itself goes by at a very quick pace, but the art—in black and white just like its cinematic predecessor—is remarkable and beautiful to look at; each page shines with an intention and purpose behind it. One can’t help but linger on each frame that accompanies Amirpour’s words. It is the perfect combination. The comic also plants many nods to the film within its story. It starts out with the Girl meeting the cat. The same cat, it turns out, that Arash met in the film’s opening. While Arash himself does not appear in the comic, it’s a nice nod, and so are the other moments that call to other of the film’s supporting characters who show up in the first issue.
The Girl’s narration throughout the whole piece helps establish and allows us to dive deeper into who the Girl is. It ends powerfully with a full examination of where she will head in the film. In fact, the comic’s first issue prequel acts almost as a mission statement for the series. The second, and final, tale of the graphic novel is entitled Who I Am and goes back to before the Girl has even set foot in Bad City. It starts in a desert where the Girl has been hiding for 15 years. Here, she reminisces about all the people she had killed before, and we see some of those murders. While the previous issue showed us the Girl very comfortable in her identity and her reasons for being in Bad City, this one acts as an internal motivator for the Girl, a way for her to explore and discover who she is. Here she questions if her journeys throughout the globe have meant anything. She is looking for a purpose. The final page of the comic shows her arriving at Bad City. It works effectively well and is a story that really pushes both the previous issue and film into one’s mind. The images contained in the comic, much like those in the film, are powerful and poignant enough to linger on in the reader’s mind long after the second story is complete.
Behemoth’s graphic novel looks and feels amazing. They spare no expense when it comes to the presentation of their titles. The pages feel incredible and I can’t imagine a better company being in charge of helping Ana Lily Amirpour tell more tales of A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. This title comes highly recommended for any fan of the film, or comics in general. It gives more insight into the world of Amirpour’s mind as well as the mind of her film’s enigmatic lead. Much like the film, words here are sparse but emotional resonance is at an all-time high. Check it out.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is now available from Behemoth.
By Justin Drabek
(Read Justin's Spectrewatch column entry on 'A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night', in which he discusses his first time seeing the film and the impact it had on him)
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