This week’s featured webcomic is gory, grim, and . . . cute? It’s a weird combination, I know, but bear with me. Chloé C.’s Headless Bliss follows Annùn, a little kid demon, whose mother is the scariest demon in the land, and therefore queen. Precocious, good-natured Annùn isn’t terribly interested in school, dreams a lot at night (which seems to be against the rules), and loves stories. When she’s absent-mindedly blabbing about portals while walking down a corridor one day, a tiny one appears and zips her off to someplace far away from home. At first, she’s scared, but soon she meets a mysterious stranger who agrees to help her get back home to her mama.
It’s clear right from the start that Annùn’s new friend, Sinaj, is not from around here. She’s odd-looking, doesn’t understand how the demon world works, and is unusually compassionate to the creatures populating the areas around Annùn’s home. Still, Annùn is enamored with the horned woman, and when Annùn finally makes her way back home, Sinaj is a little lonely for her unexpected new friend. But Annùn’s mom is not kind to strangers, and when she interrogates the young demon about her traveling companion, Annùn decides to make a deal—in exchange for delivering Sinaj to the castle, her mother won’t harm Sinaj and she can stay there as Annùn’s friend. It’s not quite what Sinaj planned, but it sure beats being vanquished by the queen of the demons.
Now, here’s where things start getting really interesting. Annùn has library full of books, something Sinaj is very interested in, but all of Annùn’s books are blank, thanks to her domineering mother. Instead of reading, Annùn fills the pages herself, and those stories—which seem linked to her unusual dreaming powers—make their way into the panels. At first, the stories appear in glimpses of Annùn’s dreams, but soon, they go for pages. Sinaj in particular is happy to hear that Annùn likes happy endings—just how much power do Annùn’s stories have?
Apart from the eerie world building and unsettling nested stories, Chloé’s comic has some stunning visuals. The demon world seems upside down, with watery atmosphere at the top and swirling, arching organic shapes slithering up from the ground. The scratchy, rough charcoal strokes in each scene give every figure and background an extra shadowy quality, perfectly complementing the overall dark nature of the narrative. But it’s not all macabre, either! While the demon queen looks like something out of an H. R. Giger painting, Annùn herself could have stepped from the pages of a kawaii manga. Cute and spooky isn’t a new combination by any stretch, but there’s something about Chloé’s surreal, organic shapes and toddler-like main character that takes it a step further. Annùn and Sinaj’s story (and stories within their story) is just getting started, so be sure to check back in when she updates, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, for more of this entrancing tale with big mysteries and stylishly weird art.