Review: Madefire’s Houses of the Holy # 8

By A Kirana

I had the pleasure of meeting Ben Abernathy, Editorial Director of Madefire, when I had the opportunity to interview him during the 2014 NYCC.  He introduced us to Madefire’s approach to motion comics, and I was excited to peruse some of their titles.

My first experience with their motion comic, is the beautifully dark, Houses of the Holy #8, written by Mike Carey and drawn by Dave Kendall, and it did not disappoint.  Entitled A Private View and set in 1936, Berlin, we are reminded that monsters, at times, wear a human face.  The monster I refer to is Gottlieb Kunst head of the Nazi party’s Ministry of Propaganda or as he refers to it ‘Public Enlightenment’.  He creates short ‘documentary’ films, using the children of the Roma gypsies who have been rounded up for sterilization.  He films the children in his studio, showing them smiling and laughing while at play, to appease the public, assuring them of the ethical treatment of the Gypsies.  His disdain towards those he perceives as the lesser race is evident when speaking about his ‘work’ to Alfred Hugenberg, whom, upon running into him at a Nazi party event, invited him to see his work.  His ‘masterpiece’ which he willingly shares with Alfred, more to feed his narcissistic nature, is far more nefarious than the films he releases to the public.

Houses of the Holy should be a must read for those who enjoy tales of the macabre.  Every part of the comic, from the music playing eerily in the background to the slight action movements within certain panels, immerses the reader into the story; even the word bubbles that pop up help to give it a more conversational feel.  The rich tapestry of the tale, woven so eloquently is able to convey the horrors of the time without turning the characters into clichéd caricatures.  Being that this was my first experience with Madefire’s motion comic, I was not familiar with the title and was unsure whether I would be able to follow the story, since I was starting with Episode 8.  Instead, what I have read and experienced is more than enough to pique my interest to play catch up with the title as I wait, impatiently, for the next episode.

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