WEBCOMIC WEDNESDAY REVIEW: La Grande Bretche

Creator: Clare Foley
Webcomic: La Grande Breteche

Summary: La Grande Breteche is a somber story of the supernatural, rendered entirely in blue watercolor. A man is warned against his visits to the garden of an abandoned mansion, but when he questions why the property has forbidden all entry, he is initially given only a warning that legal action may be taken against him. After some insistence, however, the maid begins to recall the chilling and dark tale of the home’s former (and current) occupants.

Story: The story of La Grande Breteche is crafted masterfully. The period setting and gloomy characters are used to evoke mystery and uncertainty as the tale unspools in pervading silence. The techniques used are classic, helping make the pages feel even more authentic. Reading this story feels like real legend, and I can’t honestly say I would be surprised if such a place existed in the French countryside. That’s the trick to this story. It feels real.

If anything negative can be said about the writing, it is that the story is a bit slow. However, the somber pace works to truly sink the reader in. This is the way in which La Grande Breteche reminds me of old horror. If I had to compare it to something specifically, I’d say it reminded me of reading E. A. Poe when I was younger. There are no huge scenes of shock, no grotesque imagery. La Grande Bretche unsettles the reader with the casual way that the supernatural is introduced to them.
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Art: The art in La Grande Breteche is nothing  short of stunning. The watercolor work is wonderful, and the texture it provides makes the images jump right out of the screen. Traditional media is an uncommon thing in webcomics, and strict watercolor even more rare than that. Getting to appreciate the painting as I read the comic was quite a treat.

All of the ponderous time used to set the tone in the story is filled with appealing graveyard blue scenes. The panels are organized well, though there are places where they jump forward a bit and left me doing a double take. The characters themselves often lose detail due to the medium, making them appear even more unknowable. If I could make any suggestion regarding the art, it would be to present the characters in more dynamic ways. Oftentimes, the people in La Grande Breteche appeared stiff and posed, but in the end, this might have added to the discomfort in a good way.

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Conclusion:  If you or a friend are a fan of metered horror or watercolor painting, you’ll definitely want to check this one out. It’s a nice short story, complete, and worth the read.

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