Pullbox Reviews The Loneliness of the Abyss- Aquatic Horror from Europe Comics

  • The Loneliness of the Abyss
  • Europe Comics
  • Written by Dimitris Vanellis
  • Illustrated by Nikolas Kourtis
  • Greek to English translation by Abraham Kawa
  • Available November 29, 2023

When the good ship St. Nicholas sailed from the port of Piraeus, none among its crew knew this trip would be their last. Nor could anything have prepared them for the nightmarish creature that rose from sunless depths to claim them. Worst of all, no one had instructed them how to answer the creature’s question: “Is He Alive?” In this stunning work, Dimitris Vanellis and Nikolas Kourtis craft a modern tale of terror on the high seas, based on one of the scariest legends in Greek folklore.

Most people have heard of the Gorgon, the woman with the stony gaze, snakes for hair, and cursed with a penchant for collecting statuary. But there’s another story out of Greek folklore that talks about a mermaid doomed to swim the Seven Seas. She’s Thessaloniki, sister of Alexander the Great, destined to cast judgment on wayward mariners until the end of days. This is the basis for The Loneliness of the Abyss, a gorgeously layered graphic novel, coming very soon from Europe Comics.

As a visual storyteller, Nikolas Kourtis has done amazing things. Outstanding artwork aside, he takes the grim atmosphere of this book to another level by leaning into a palette heavy on grays, greens, & blues. Not the happy greens and blues of a spring prairie, mind you, but shades much more suited for the cold, dark depths of the ocean floor. Between Kourtis’s use of color to establish mood, and the overwhelming scope of Thessaloniki as the tragic Gorgon, this could have easily been a story told purely through pictures. That said, he isn’t doing this alone.

Very much to his credit, Dimitris Vanellis instills his story with all the emotion hinted at in the title. The script pulls much of its tone from the likes of H.P. Lovecraft. Thessaloniki isn’t a mermaid in the Disney Princess sense, but something much more monstrous and tragic. Both the anonymous narrator, a sailor spared the fate of his shipmates, and the ill-fated Gorgon share the weight of their guilt and loneliness… one the survivor who couldn’t save his friends, the other carrying centuries doomed to destroy. All of it is beautifully captured through Vanellis’s scripts, and again in the translation from Greek to English by Abraham Kawa.

Although Europe Comics has pulled back on their distribution in the United States, their books are still available digitally through the Amazon Kindle. That’s a great thing, as beautifully done books are still coming out from that label and The Loneliness of the Abyss is no exception. Readers looking for a story about an aquatic kaiju can probably find it with other publishers. For folks who want their comics steeped in heavy emotional undertones, this is a fantastic piece of Lovecraftian horror worthy of the tag.

Final Score: 12/13

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