SPECTACLE Vol. 1 by Megan Rose Gedris
SPECTACLE Vol. 1 has the beauty of diversity, a thrilling pace, and versatile artwork.
100 %
thrilling and fun

When I embarked on the journey that is SPECTACLE Vol. 1, I had no idea what I was getting into. I expected to read a nice comic that dabbled in the supernatural. Instead, I found a brand new favorite series. Not only is this story the most phenomenally paced comic that I’ve ever read, it also gives us two outstanding heroines.

This comic by Megan Rose Gedris follows a pair of twins — Kat and Anna — who travel with the circus. Kat is a daring knife-thrower while Anna makes her living as a fake fortune teller. Problems arise, however, when Kat is murdered. Anna must find out who the murderer is. Meanwhile, her connection to the spirit world becomes very real as her newly-deceased sister possesses her.

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A Perfect Melting Pot

One feature of SPECTACLE Vol. 1 that delights me to no end is the diversity. It’s cool enough that such a unique story is led by women. The fact that they’re women of color elevates the status to “kickass.” 

Image courtesy of Oni Press.

It helps, too, that Kat and Anna aren’t the only POC in the comic. For instance, Kat’s assistant, Carl Chen, is kind-hearted, loyal, and devoted. He doesn’t seem to fall into any of the stereotypes or tropes Asian characters are typically relegated to. His backstory also briefly touches on the history of Chinese immigrants as railroad workers. There are several other characters who have as-yet unspecified ethnicities, but they fill in the edges of the story with a beautiful diversity.

The top-notch representation doesn’t end there, however. This comic also makes a point of showing us an array of different women, beyond just the color of their skin. SPECTACLE showcases women with a variety of body types and disabilities. While other characters disparage some of the women in the “freak show”, the comic never seems to punch down.

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These characters are all so much more than what they look like, too. Gedris provides us with contrasting female characters without holding one type over the other as superior. Kat is more feminine, soft, and physically skilled. Meanwhile, Anna is more rigid, masculine, and intellectual. They just feel different, rather than at odds. Kat is religious, though also willing to question things when necessary. Anna is an engineer who relies on logic and statistics, which she believes can’t fail her. These characters allow for the exciting coexistence of science, religion, and the paranormal within this comic. It’s not always an easy coexistence, but it’s a thrilling one to explore.

Exquisite Storytelling

SPECTACLE Vol. 1 succeeds not only in the content of the story, but in how the story unfolds as well. I mentioned before that this comic has amazing pacing, but it bears repeating. Gedris delivers just enough information to keep readers glued to the page without letting them get ahead of the story. While reading, I never felt like a piece of plot got glossed over, and my attention never wavered once. We never enter a scene until we have to, and as soon as an important action concludes, we shift focus.

This comic fills me to the brim with tension as Anna and Kat follow potential leads. It also knows when to ease up and deliver a good laugh. When I got to the end of the volume, the final panels made me gasp out loud, desperate for more.

Gripping Art

The artwork of SPECTACLE Vol. 1 has an air of whimsy. It fits the period of the comic, as well as the nostalgic environment of the circus. Gedris strikes a lovely balance between realism and exaggeration in her characters. The lines and shapes of their faces lend to their personalities, as we see with the soft friendly curves of Carl’s face.

Image courtesy of Oni Press.

I also appreciate the versatility of Gedris’ style in this comic. Her work is gripping both in comedic panels and dramatic panels. One of my favorite aspects of her work is the nod towards tarot cards, particularly in the cover art.

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Final Thoughts on SPECTACLE Vol. 1

SPECTACLE Vol. 1 has a story and artwork that is completely consuming. If you’re anything like me, you won’t be able to put it down once you start. I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for more. Frankly, I would scream from the rooftops with recommendations for this comic. It’s a smart story with a lot of heart. If you don’t read it, you’re missing out.

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