Ring ring! Ring ring! The insidious phone won’t stop ringing for neighbours Sissy and Lola, and it’s leading them down some pretty dark paths! Find out what it all means in a new mystery from Benji Nate, Hell Phone Book 1!
Publisher: Silver Sproket
Writer: Benji Nate
Artist: Benji Nate
Price: Buy for 12.99 from Amazon
When I discovered that Benji Nate was coming out with a new graphic novel, I was very excited. I’ve been a long time fan of Benji’s work, from her glorious Catboy to wonderfully mischievous Lorna. Thus far, Benji’s work had been a ten out of ten for me, with enthralling plots, relatable characters and of course, her stunning distinctive artwork. The latest addition to her repertoire continues her trend of insanely detailed, great work.
A perfect mix of freaky, funny and heartwarming, Hellphone Book 1 by Benji Nate is a supernatural mystery, with a few horror elements intertwined. Originally released serially online, Hell Phone follows best pals and next-door neighbours, Sissy and Lola, and begins where all good stories should begin…with a phone ringing in a bush.
Upon picking up the phone call, as you do, an ominous voice repeats an address before abruptly hanging up. Being naturally curious, the girls decide to meander towards the address, before receiving further phone calls with more details the closer they get – ‘red door, blue shutters’, ‘upstairs, door to your right’. What’s awaiting them on the other side of said door is a grisly scene: the dead body of a woman, throat slit, blood all over the floor with red candles burning nearby. Satanic ritual lovers, eat your heart out. Of course, the two girls do what any sane person would. Freak out a little before calling the police. There’s just one problem – the police can’t see the body. Or the blood. Or the candles. Why the heck are these girls wasting police time by calling them to an empty room?
Once the girls discover that only they can see the body, the story really gets going. They soon find out that this murder has taken place in the past! But why? And why does the phone keep reappearing every time they destroy it?
Hell Phone does a great job in balancing the darkness of its plot, with every day slice-of-life and pairs this with the hilarity of our protagonists. Despite having lots of aspects of a typical ‘thriller’, like grave-robbing, murders, and mystery, Hell Phone has Nate’s distinctive humour written all over it, and is a testament to her writing and illustrations.
As always with Nate, the illustrations are totally divine. They remind me of the old school cartoons I’d watch as a child, with their vibrancy, candy-colour palette, cute as a button faces and retro feel. I also really enjoyed the choice of having the illustrations/panels completely fill the page to the edges, rather than having a white or black border as is usually the case in graphic novels. It’s so distinctive and it works very effectively.
My only complaint about Hell Phone is that Book 2 isn’t already here. A totally unfair complaint, as Book 1 was literally published last month. One thing’s for sure, this reader will definitely be getting her hands on Book 2 as soon as it becomes available. Another absolute triumph for Benji Nate.