A Black woman wearing a yellow coat stands in quarter profile. She is lit in purple and orange, with green and yellow text beside her reading "BTTM FDRS."

Creepy Reads: BTTM FDRS by Ezra Claytan Daniels and Ben Passmore


Synopsis

Once a thriving working class neighborhood on Chicago’s south side, the “Bottomyards” is now the definition of urban blight. When an aspiring fashion designer named Darla and her image-obsessed friend, Cynthia, descend upon the neighborhood in search of cheap rent, they soon discover something far more seductive and sinister lurking behind the walls of their new home.


Details

  • Title: BTTM FDRS
  • Author: Ezra Claytan Daniels
  • Illustrator: Ben Passmore
  • Cover Artist: Ben Passmore
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
  • ISBN: 1683962060
  • Publication Date: June 25, 2019

Review

BTTM FDRS (pronounced “bottom feeders”) is a bitterly funny satire about gentrification, cultural appropriation, racism, and white fragility filtered through the lens of gory body horror. Its nuanced treatment of race, class, and gender depicts a rigged system that relies on the theft and weaponization of Black genius. Though the plot is occasionally murky, the overall story—revolving around corruption, poverty, and monsters both human and inhuman—is compelling and strong.

The often monochromatic neon art, with its fluorescent, futuristic queasiness, perfectly conveys the sociopolitical tension at the center of the story. It is terrifically creepy, with a few panels that genuinely startled me and some clever Easter eggs like stray Candyman posters. Sharp and scary, this graphic novel is a uniquely visceral work of gentrification horror.


Rating

Don’t touch the duck. I give this book 4 out of 5 coffins.

4 Coffins


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