The supernatural takes center stage at Oni Press this August with the release of LOLA, a 72 page original graphic novel by J. Torres and R’John Bernales. Like a story ‘round the campfire, LOLA packs equal parts suspense and folk tale, with plenty of ghosts, monsters, and things that go bump in the night.
Jesse’s family has always told stories about his grandmother and her visions of haunted farmhouses, man-eating ogres, and pigs possessed by the devil. For years his grandmother has used those visions to help the people living in her community in the Philippine countryside, but to Jesse the stories are just scary. When his family travels to her home for her funeral, Jesse has no choice but to face the monsters, demons, and ghosts from his grandmother’s stories, because he can see them too.
Longtime Oni readers know of J. Torres’ penchant for dipping into the past for inspiration, (previous graphic novels include DAYS LIKE THIS, SCANDALOUS, and THE COPYBOOK TALES), as well as his ability to create his own menaces in ALISON DARE, LITTLE MISS ADVENTURES. These elements combine in LOLA to produce a story that is both eerie and genuine.
“LOLA combines family stories about my maternal grandmother and various Filipino folk tales with a little magic realism and good old fashioned campfire storytelling,” explained Torres. “I love seeing parts of my childhood illustrated in a comic. It's a lot of fun seeing this mix of fact and fiction blurred on the comic page like this.”
Torres is joined by a relative newcomer to comics, R’John Bernales (FOUR LETTER WORLDS). “I fell in love with his art from sketch one,” commented Torres. “I love his take on different Filipino monsters and creatures and things that go bump in the night.” Bernales found the process a pleasure. “J. is a really talented writer, and for the most part allows me to have a lot of freedom in the drawing process.”
And that freedom provided great results. “There was no question that R’John should be the one to join J. on this project,” commented James Lucas Jones, Oni’s editor in chief. “Many of the subtleties of the story are nonverbal, and R’John did a great job of capturing a lot of meaning in an expression, or in someone’s body language.”
Torres hopes that the book will be something different than he’s created so far. “ I'm going for creepy and spooky in parts of this book, and I don't think I've ever played that stuff "straight" before. I don't think you can call this a horror story, but if we're successful, people will view it as horror or suspense in a "Twilight Zone" or "Alfred Hitchcock" sense.”
LOLA is a 72 page trade paperback, featuring sepia-and-white story and art. It ships to comic stores in August, and retails for $5.95 with an ISBN of 1-932664-24-6.