Review: Cry Wolf Girl (Short Box Comics)

Part of Short Box’s monthly small press collection, we take a look at Ariel Ries’ Cry Wolf Girl.

Publisher: Short Box Comics
Writer/Artist: Ariel Ries
Price: TBC

A searing, red-hot danger pierces through Ariel Ries’ Cry Wolf Girl. Her contribution to this September’s ShortBox tells the gripping and frighteningly-drawn story of tribe member Dawa, whose grief-stricken state at the loss of her family sees her experience panic attacks at the belief of prowling wolves near her village. Her disbelieving village elders and growing erratic frame of mind explodes to become a finely-tuned balance of alarm, empathy and schizophrenia.

The symbolism of colour is paramount in Cry Wolf Girl. Whilst white is used to represent calm and black to show grief, a constant and electrifying red is scattered throughout the comic, emphasising the never-ending tension that ripples all through Cry Wolf Girl. Perspective is another keenly-used tool, as Ries illustrates Dawa’s personal space being invaded by these intrusive, primal thoughts that rapidly manifest into something more tangible, and more deadly. Real or unreal, these wolves descend upon her in an almighty fashion, giving Cry Wolf Girl a sense of grim claustrophobia as the wolves intrude on Dawa’s life.

Within all of this danger however, Cry Wolf Girl manages to end on a note of resolve and peaceful optimism. Predatory invasion morphs into a metaphor for mental instability, which Ries’s story ultimately guides Dawa along to a satisfactory conclusion in finding inner peace. Marvellously drawn and coloured, Cry Wolf Girl is a compact, masterful exploration of the ignorance of patriarchy and the compassionate strengths that empathy can offer to someone.