To date, Feff Silvers has produced two print volumes of her supernaturally themed webcomic The Final Lullaby, with a third currently crowdfunding. This manga style story follows protagonist Penelope “Horos” Wallingford, a university librarian who has led an otherwise unremarkable life until the death of her mother changes her life forever.
Discovering her own mystical legacy as a result, Penelope is subsequently embroiled in the darker side of her hometown of Durham. Coming to terms with these newfound eldritch powers over the passage of time, she becomes part of a local coven with fellow witches Adena, Ellern and Neschume. With an ongoing conflict between the witches and the local vampire population, Penelope must learn not just how to master her unfamiliar abilities but also how to navigate this strange world she has become a part of…
There’s an art to structuring a story that plays to the strengths of both digital and print delivery but doesn’t compromise either. It’s something that isn’t appreciated nearly enough but with The Final Lullaby it’s very much achieved. Silvers splits the action across eight chapters in these first two volumes, juggling an ever expanding cast of characters and situations but never overwhelming the reader. While The Final Lullaby touches on a number of standard horror elements it’s more a celebration of those standards than a new take on them. But engaging characterisation and a number of narrative hooks (not least of which the mystery of the titular melody) keep the reader invested throughout.
Silvers’ visuals are full of energy and deft visual character cues, with Penelope’s manipulation of time being particularly well realised in terms of panel-to-panel sequencing. Her limited use of colour is also inspired in its application to the largely black and white pages to denote magical artefacts and mystical practice, making their otherworldly qualities stand out all the more. But it’s her lettering skills that really impress not simply for the intuitive way it guides the reader’s eye around the action but also for how it underlines different dialects and cultures, and the way in which it overlaps and crosses in moments of conflict, anger and character interplay.
Much of The Final Lullaby acts as narrative metaphor for themes of coming-of-age and finding our place in the world. Dressed up in fantasy trappings that gives us a story that is both recognisable and yet fantastic. With a diverse cast and plenty of mysteries still to be explored there’s much to recommend this as appealing escapist fun. The first print volumes are available to buy online here and the crowdfunder for Volume 3 is here.
Feff Silvers (W/A) • Self-published, £6.00 each
Review by Andy Oliver