Johnny Bullet
The Dreaming Collection
By Chris Zimmerman

Sep 29, 2010 - 18:58

Publisher(s): Tokyopop
Writer(s): Queenie Chan
Penciller(s): Queenie Chan
ISBN: 978-1-4278-1871-3
$19.99 US

Few American manga properties have shown themselves to be as successful as the works of Chinese-Australian artist Queenie Chan. Having worked on high profile projects such as In Odd We Trust, a prequel to Dean Koontz’s original novel series, the artist has earned her place in the manga industry. Her breakout work, the Dreaming was first published under Tokyopop back when the company intended to cultivate home grown talent and has since gone on to earn critical acclaim. A movie was recently announced, leaving no better opportunity than to reprint the series in an omnibus edition.

Published between 2005 and 2007, the Dreaming is an atmospheric suspense filled tale originally separated into three volumes. Naturally, the omnibus brings together the three books while also including a bonus chapter to further its appeal among fans of the series.

The series centers on the lives of twin sisters Amber and Jeanie who attend an Australian boarding school in which students have been known to vanish. Very quickly the girls learn not all is at is seems when the headmaster, also their aunt, asks them to not reveal they are twins. Yes, it does sound ridiculous but and in lesser hands, it would have failed miserably. Naturally there are other oddities to be had such as strange visions, mysterious voices, rounded out by prophetic dreams that all serve to add to the gothic atmosphere of the series.

The artwork also helps in this regard, with its detail layouts of sets and historical clothing that gives the series a supernatural flair. In regards to the artist’s style, it doesn’t attempt to copy the norm, making it instantly recognizable as its own distinct style. Too often, original English manga works attempted to simply replicate what was popular without adding something new to the mix. Queenie Chan’s works reflect a style separate from any other currently being produced, calling upon a mixture surreal images and exotic shine.

This volume boasts eight new color pages, five figure illustrations, as well as a new short story. An interview with Queenie Chan rounds out the mix, making this a hefty package for those looking to get into the series. The special extras aren’t exactly essential but they are much appreciated and make for a tempting reason to double dip.

At its heart, the dreaming is a folk tale told in manga form. Combining all the essential ingredients to make up a satisfactory horror mystery, Queenie Chan was able to deliver a multi-layered plot brimming with madness, fantasy, and drama. Regardless of whether you’re a returning fan or new to the series, fans of gothic fantasy will find the Dreaming to be a feast for the imagination.

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