Finnish artist Broci reimagines classic horror tropes in Bad Friday

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Illustration: Broci

In English-speaking circles, Finnish cartoonist and illustrator Broci is probably best known for his spellbinding prints who tackle all sorts of spooky things, from ghosts to weird fairies to creatures from Finnish folklore. Their work as book illustrator will probably be more familiar to Finnish readers, although the general mood of this work can also be described as chilling. In fact, with incredibly rare exceptions, all of Broci’s work falls under the horror banner, often exploring its intersections with other genres. Readers of their webcomic, bad fridaylaunched in 2014 and constantly updated, will know its particular approach to horror.

The webcomic is an intimate and loosely interconnected anthology centered on a group of friends, in which Broci explores various horror tropes and how they manifest across interconnected genres. Many updates include quotes from work that influenced or has parallels with the story arc that is being described. The types of horror tackled by the webcomic range from Lovecraftian entities to zombies, with many arcs ending in cliffhangers – not to be touched on later, but to leave the reader with the general impression that horror still lurks in the Street corner. bad friday.

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And the horror East always on the lookout there. Attentive readers will notice Broci’s frequent use of isometric panels, particularly in render settings: aside from the way these panels establish the frame in the reader’s mind, this approach allows Broci to hide glimpses of horror. , like a lingering ghost-in the background details, for a surprising effect.

Illustration: Broci

Illustration: Broci

There is a clear manga influence in Broci’s hand drawn and digitally altered pages. Some panels feature genre-common halftone dotted backgrounds, as do the frequent focus lines and gradient backgrounds. The most obvious influence (not only on Bad Friday, but most of Broci’s work) is the work of the manga group CLAMP, famous for Sakura card sensor and xxxholic. Broci’s character designs are reminiscent of CLAMP’s work, though their ethereal artwork features a unique sense of fashion (likely developed through their diploma in fashion and clothing design). The manga technique we are particularly interested in here is Broci’s tendency to use superdistortion: the characters will sometimes become chibi (a specific style of caricature where the characters are drawn in an exaggerated way) but then the next panel will be rendered in great detail . This, perhaps, ties into the larger comic book pacing where goofy moments between friends are followed by pure horror – to jarring, unsettling effect.

Illustration: Broci

Illustration: Broci

Like webtoon webcomics to industrialize more and more, it’s important to note how their self-propelled nature allows artists time to experiment and develop a style at their own pace. The first works of bad friday available now is not the same as what was released in 2014; Broci started redesigning some pages in 2018. Although this evolution in their style can be attributed to the professional work they have always done alongside bad friday, it’s likely that some of this can be attributed to the experimentation we see them engaging in in the webcomic. Take, for example, the inclusion of a black and white break pattern red wash on panels depicting extraterrestrial interaction, depicting diegetic light. On one page, Broci combines the gradient of their overall manga-inspired style with red light.

This level of experimentation, coupled with the general creepy vibe inherent in Broci’s art, is a big part of why it’s such a triumph – and why the intimacy of webcomics like bad friday deserve to be celebrated.

Illustration: Broci

Illustration: Broci

Illustration: Broci

Illustration: Broci

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