Sunday, December 10, 2023

45 Days Of CCS, #10: Ana Two

Ana Two's comic Playtape is a masterful example of psychological horror that evolves into CNC kink. There's an attention to detail that heightens the tension of the comic from the very beginning, dipping deep into the comic's narrative and thematic references to film. Starting with the translucent cover of a DVD that's filled in with an image beneath it, Playtape explores hidden layers and secrets that are only exposed after enormous stress. 

The story follows Uma, a film editor who receives a DVD on her doorstep without her knowledge. The bizarre video is of a masked, hooded figure who's created a dummy version of her. It's creepy and invasive, and Uma immediately sets out and accuses her assistants and ex-boyfriend, who are baffled as to what she's even talking about. She continues to receive DVDs that are increasingly creepy and sexual in nature, and it finally breaks her in an unexpected way. Even as the most recent DVD includes the hooded figure introducing rope and getting increasingly graphic, it leads Uma to take control of the situation in a surprising way. The end of the comic, which includes the identity of the stalker (which is almost completely unimportant) utterly reframes every interaction seen in the comic in terms of BDSM power relationships. In the end, the Uma transforms being the object of desire into something very different. Ana Two's cartooning excels in capturing this transformation, including a clever use of the De Luca effect when Uma walks up the stairs and into her apartment, feeling inexorably drawn to getting the next video, "like I was being led to the guillotine." This is a smart character study that constantly pushes and redefines the protagonist on nearly every page, and each new detail builds on the next. 

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