You can barely imagine a silent movie being made in Hollywood today – wordless art forms are left to the fringes. But luckily for us, one medium that is superbly equipped to tell complex stories without using words is comics.
Ott’s Cinema Panopticum is a beautiful silent work, that links four short stories into one larger one. A young girl wanders around a fair, looking for rides and sideshows she can afford with the small amount of change she has in her pocket. She stumbles across the Cinema Panopticum – five coin operated boxes that show eerie horror stories with surprise endings. As she works her way through them we see the stories from her perspective, but even this is not quite as straight-forward as it seems…
Ott’s beautiful drawings look like they’ve been etched out of the black pages. His characterisations are simple but effective, easily capturing the horror and torment on the faces of the characters whose lives he’s playing with. Words are completely superfluous to his creation – there isn’t one panel of this book that would be improved with dialogue.
The only drawback is that the lack of words can leave you racing through the book far too fast. We’d urge you not to do this – sit back and take the time to enjoy this witty, edgy comic. If you like atmospheric, spooky stories with a bit of a twist, you’ll adore this intelligent and attractive piece of sequential art.