By Marianna Serocka
Published by Centrala ISBN 978-0-9933951-3-0
Reviewed by Spencer Hill
Disco Cry is the first graphic novel from fine arts graduate Marianna Serocka, published by Centrala. It tells the story of a girl who sets off on a night out with her girlfriends in search of love after a recent breakup. The blurb on the back cover written by Klara Sladkova reads;
‘Every girl knows this, all these Saturday nights that stretch until dawn and cannot end. Coming back home with a hangover, broken heart and a strange guy on top of that. Disco Cry is one of these nights that leave memories you’d rather not have.’
The book is a hefty 4 centimetres thick with each of its 240 pages measuring 15 by 17 centimetres, and almost every one of them has been drawn and coloured right to the edges. This is certainly a feast for the eyes, and Marianna has used every coloured felt tip pen she owns to create this book. The story as I understood it follows a girl through one emotional night. She has split from her boyfriend and her friends suggest she hits the discos to find love and consolation. They meet a couple of guys and take them home, but the one our main character picks doesn’t turn out to be her soul mate after all. He leaves angrily after breakfast and takes her heart with him, and I believe that it affects her so badly she turns to religion and becomes a nun. I may be wrong though.
The reason I am a little unsure of myself is because there is no conventional dialogue, and the story only resorts to narrative on eleven pages of hand written notes interspersed throughout the book. Between each note you are left to interpret the images yourself and discover your own version of events. For those people who have experienced similar life events I expect it will evoke old memories and emotions, and the vivid drawings and symbolism will strike meaningful chords. There is a huge amount of passion and unquestionable artistic talent in here, and I particularly loved the drawings of the forest in the centre of the book.
Speaking of the drawings, I will briefly return to the back cover again and quote a little more of that blurb on the subject;
‘Marianna wittily uses paper as a means to explore her fondness for ornaments. Impatient drawings and wild colours, increasingly intense as the night progresses reach a climax at the end of the story. An amusing read that will calm your conscience after a sleepless night’
This graphic novel represents a huge amount of effort and creativity, and my drawing hand aches at the sheer amount of pen marks that are collected inside. Neither the story or the style grab me to be honest, and I am OK with this. I have never had a wild sleepless night in discos in search of a way to mend my broken heart, and I believe that this story and its imagery will be much clearer to those who can associate with it on some level.
If you are looking for a modern and edgy collection of wildly artistic illustrations which provide you with the graphic novel equivalent of a nightclub in full swing at 2AM, then you have to check this out. I will take my cup of tea and retire to the room next door where I can listen to my Journey Greatest Hits album and eat a biscuit.
You may also be interested in these book reviews: