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Worry Doll: A Graphic Novel by Matt Coyle

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". . . Coyle's work is groundbreaking. The imagery in Worry Doll is so far ahead of anything out there in terms of visual sophistication that it suggests a new way forward for the genre—maybe a new genre altogether." — Sebastian Smee, The Daily Telegraph "An amazing piece of work." ― David Lloyd (V for Vendetta) "After seeing Worry Doll my only worry is that I'll never sleep ". . . Coyle's work is groundbreaking. The imagery in Worry Doll is so far ahead of anything out there in terms of visual sophistication that it suggests a new way forward for the genre—maybe a new genre altogether." — Sebastian Smee, The Daily Telegraph "An amazing piece of work." ― David Lloyd (V for Vendetta) "After seeing Worry Doll my only worry is that I'll never sleep again. Wonderfully creepy stuff." ― Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) A group of dolls find their hosts murdered and flee the crime scene, setting out on a nightmarish road trip. Matt Coyle's inspired gothic noir, disguised as a children's book and filled with hauntingly lifelike pen-and-ink illustrations, offers a dark and disturbing vision that won't soon be forgotten. This edition features a new Foreword by Shaun Tan (The Lost Thing). Suggested for mature readers. "Nothing goes unnoticed in Coyle's meticulous, near-obsessively detailed artwork that marries the finest gothic of best of Bernie Wrightson with the intricate photo-realism of Arthur Ranson, yet with a verisimilitude neither has ever matched." — All Star Comics "I absolutely love it with a passion." — Nerdy Show


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". . . Coyle's work is groundbreaking. The imagery in Worry Doll is so far ahead of anything out there in terms of visual sophistication that it suggests a new way forward for the genre—maybe a new genre altogether." — Sebastian Smee, The Daily Telegraph "An amazing piece of work." ― David Lloyd (V for Vendetta) "After seeing Worry Doll my only worry is that I'll never sleep ". . . Coyle's work is groundbreaking. The imagery in Worry Doll is so far ahead of anything out there in terms of visual sophistication that it suggests a new way forward for the genre—maybe a new genre altogether." — Sebastian Smee, The Daily Telegraph "An amazing piece of work." ― David Lloyd (V for Vendetta) "After seeing Worry Doll my only worry is that I'll never sleep again. Wonderfully creepy stuff." ― Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) A group of dolls find their hosts murdered and flee the crime scene, setting out on a nightmarish road trip. Matt Coyle's inspired gothic noir, disguised as a children's book and filled with hauntingly lifelike pen-and-ink illustrations, offers a dark and disturbing vision that won't soon be forgotten. This edition features a new Foreword by Shaun Tan (The Lost Thing). Suggested for mature readers. "Nothing goes unnoticed in Coyle's meticulous, near-obsessively detailed artwork that marries the finest gothic of best of Bernie Wrightson with the intricate photo-realism of Arthur Ranson, yet with a verisimilitude neither has ever matched." — All Star Comics "I absolutely love it with a passion." — Nerdy Show

30 review for Worry Doll: A Graphic Novel by Matt Coyle

  1. 4 out of 5

    b. t.

    2.5 stars, really. Very rarely do I round up, but I think it's only fair in this case, since I don't think I got the full effect/impact of this short novel. I read it on my phone's kindle app, which messed up the formatting and sometimes made it hard to see what was happening in the images. Would I have enjoyed this book more if I had a tablet or a physical copy? Maybe. I'm not sure. With that being said, I read it through twice to give it a fair shot and to make sure I "got" it. The artwork in 2.5 stars, really. Very rarely do I round up, but I think it's only fair in this case, since I don't think I got the full effect/impact of this short novel. I read it on my phone's kindle app, which messed up the formatting and sometimes made it hard to see what was happening in the images. Would I have enjoyed this book more if I had a tablet or a physical copy? Maybe. I'm not sure. With that being said, I read it through twice to give it a fair shot and to make sure I "got" it. The artwork in this graphic novel depicts the tale of a group of dolls who escape the scene of a murder and then embark on an eerie roadtrip. It's a stark, unsettling, super-realistic art style, and it really makes the story. Not just the realism, but the way the pictures are put together, the use of black vs white space, the details. All of this is very well done and I wish I had a physical copy so that I could examine it more closely. (Zooming in on my kindle app just made the images blurry -- useless!) The text accompanying the art at first seems unrelated -- a narrator speaking to a companion about things like his childhood and his mental/emotional wellbeing. I found it confusing and disorienting, which might have been the intended effect, but it didn't work for me. It just pulled me out of the story. Everything eventually comes together, and I figured out what was going on, although there are plenty of open questions left for the reader to mull over. The plot itself is nothing special, and neither is the revelation at the end. Its strength is in the execution. The text took away from the story, to be honest. The images were so thought-provoking and unusual, but then the accompanying text and the story it told were kind of bland in comparison. I wish the story had been more "magical realism with creepy dolls" and less "psychological character study," which is what it ended up being. So it's minus 2.5 stars for the text, but plus 2.5 stars for excellent visual storytelling. I received this book from NetGalley & the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Orrin Grey

    Stuck somewhere between a graphic novel and an illustrated short story, I saw someone describe Worry Doll as "putting an artist's gallery show to narrative," and that's about right. I could almost see this unfolding as a creepy short film. Stuck somewhere between a graphic novel and an illustrated short story, I saw someone describe Worry Doll as "putting an artist's gallery show to narrative," and that's about right. I could almost see this unfolding as a creepy short film.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Wayne McCoy

    'Worry Doll' by Matt Coyle is worrisome indeed. Not because it's not any good, but because the content is quietly unnerving. Presented as a child's picture book, with the text on one page followed by a full page illustration, I can tell you this is no child's fable. A group of strange looking dolls witnesses a brutal murder scene. They are then left on their own in the world to meet up with strange and terrifying people. It's a creepy black and white world with brilliant photo-realistic drawings 'Worry Doll' by Matt Coyle is worrisome indeed. Not because it's not any good, but because the content is quietly unnerving. Presented as a child's picture book, with the text on one page followed by a full page illustration, I can tell you this is no child's fable. A group of strange looking dolls witnesses a brutal murder scene. They are then left on their own in the world to meet up with strange and terrifying people. It's a creepy black and white world with brilliant photo-realistic drawings by Matt Coyle. The text at times seems disjointed with what is happening, almost as if the narrator is trying to create distance from memory. The dolls are rather creepy in the context of the story, but it's hard to tell if they are the perpetrators or the victims. I'll leave that for you to figure out. There is a foreword by Shaun Tan (The Lost Thing) that praised the brilliance of the precise art. The art almost seems like woodcut, but apparently is pen and ink drawing. There is a great unease to be found in this strange tale. I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Dover Publications and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Elke

    When I started reading Worry Doll, I expected something about one - or more - creepy murderous dolls, maybe along the lines of Chucky but more sophisticated. What I got was different, something about a serial killer psychopath maybe, but a lot of the details are still blurry and left to guesswork I think. While the uniqueness and skill of the illustrations is beyond doubt. The 'zoom-in' pictures showing part of a larger image in close-up detail were ingenious (I immediately thought of other comic When I started reading Worry Doll, I expected something about one - or more - creepy murderous dolls, maybe along the lines of Chucky but more sophisticated. What I got was different, something about a serial killer psychopath maybe, but a lot of the details are still blurry and left to guesswork I think. While the uniqueness and skill of the illustrations is beyond doubt. The 'zoom-in' pictures showing part of a larger image in close-up detail were ingenious (I immediately thought of other comics which should have used that trick). Keeping the foreword in mind, I also paid special attention to the line drawing, which would have escaped my eye otherwise, and once again: brilliant talent. BUT - there always seems to be a catch, doesn't it? But I must admit: I did not like the pictures. Not because of the subject of the story which makes it impossible to enjoy the abhorrent visions, but simply because I didn't like the style, just like I don't like certain music or paintings while others do - it's just my personal subjective opinion. I thought the main doll itself was very cute, but the 'guy' doll looked totally ugly and disgusting, making me want to look away (but which of course I did not). As with the intermingling text parts, I had a hard time connecting them to the images. At first I thought of the text passages as descriptions of the following or maybe previous pictures, but more often than not I didn't see the connection. After finishing, I scrolled back through the images and found that it was easier to follow the plot with the background story revealed, but a lot of questions remained. The plot is nothing too special, but if you are a fan of unusual graphic novels you may want to give this extraordinary piece of art a try. (Thanks to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for a copy of the book, all opinions are my own)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rex Hurst

    The term “worry doll” comes from the ancient Mayans in the Guatemalan highlands. Traditionally when children are scared or have nightmares, they are given worry dolls before they go to sleep. They put them under the pillow and when they wake up, their worries are gone. Knowing this will give you a different take on the action in this story. And you might need it, because what is actually happening in this tale is up in the air. Ostensibly it's about a group of dolls (actual dolls) who discover t The term “worry doll” comes from the ancient Mayans in the Guatemalan highlands. Traditionally when children are scared or have nightmares, they are given worry dolls before they go to sleep. They put them under the pillow and when they wake up, their worries are gone. Knowing this will give you a different take on the action in this story. And you might need it, because what is actually happening in this tale is up in the air. Ostensibly it's about a group of dolls (actual dolls) who discover that they family they are with have been murdered. They go on an increasingly bizarre odyssey where reality blurs back and forth. There are easily multiple interpretations of the action. It is a mirror for yourself and how you interpret the images and words in this book reflects as much on who you are as a person as it does on the material presented. My suggestion is to approach it as you would a Beckett play and let the emotions and sensations presented by the words and images wash over you. Let them carry you along with the current, as it were, and then you will reach a satisfactory conclusion. Maybe not one of absolute fact, but an emotional ending.

  6. 4 out of 5

    CC

    The story to this book is a bit mind bending, winding us through a very dark journey with unexpected conclusion. But I suppose the entire work is unexpected, on second read through I decided to take my time and pore over the decidedly fantastic artwork. It's simply mind blowing that such photo realism has been achieved with common art line pens, the author is a unique talent. Blending the intricate backgrounds and human characters with the playful look of the dolls draws the attention to every s The story to this book is a bit mind bending, winding us through a very dark journey with unexpected conclusion. But I suppose the entire work is unexpected, on second read through I decided to take my time and pore over the decidedly fantastic artwork. It's simply mind blowing that such photo realism has been achieved with common art line pens, the author is a unique talent. Blending the intricate backgrounds and human characters with the playful look of the dolls draws the attention to every single frame. The let down for me has been the kindle edition of this book. In digital form it seems some of the text formatting is off, making an already challenging narrative even more difficult to follow. Also sadly I'm unable to examine the art as closely as I'd like. The reproduced panels can't be sized up at all so a lot of detail is lost. I can only imagine what a good looking book this is so I highly recommend opting for a physical copy purchase.

  7. 5 out of 5

    John

    When I first read this, maybe 10 years ago--this blew my mind. The art seemed so outside the realm of regular comic illustration. The story took a bit of time to figure out, but art was the draw. Fastforward to my reread. The art's good--but it's nowhere near as earth shattering as I recall it being. The story is a mess and borderline incomprehensible. It's basically a way to tell an artists gallery into a sequential narrative. When I first read this, maybe 10 years ago--this blew my mind. The art seemed so outside the realm of regular comic illustration. The story took a bit of time to figure out, but art was the draw. Fastforward to my reread. The art's good--but it's nowhere near as earth shattering as I recall it being. The story is a mess and borderline incomprehensible. It's basically a way to tell an artists gallery into a sequential narrative.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Len

    I received my copy via Goodreads giveaways. This is a beautiful, disturbing graphic novel; the spare text and troubling images fit the story arc well. "DOES ANYTHING GO ON IN THAT HEAD OF YOURS?" I received my copy via Goodreads giveaways. This is a beautiful, disturbing graphic novel; the spare text and troubling images fit the story arc well. "DOES ANYTHING GO ON IN THAT HEAD OF YOURS?"

  9. 5 out of 5

    Pop Bop

    Unnerving and Memorable Part way through this fascinating book I finally realized what it was that kept niggling at my mind. This book is like the graphic novel step-child of the stop motion animation of the Brothers Quay, pioneers of gothic surrealism. Check out one of their shorts on YouTube or something like that and you'll see what I mean. (Maybe it was their use of creepy porcelain doll heads on weird metal and rag bodies that drove me to these connection.) Like the Quay's work, this book is Unnerving and Memorable Part way through this fascinating book I finally realized what it was that kept niggling at my mind. This book is like the graphic novel step-child of the stop motion animation of the Brothers Quay, pioneers of gothic surrealism. Check out one of their shorts on YouTube or something like that and you'll see what I mean. (Maybe it was their use of creepy porcelain doll heads on weird metal and rag bodies that drove me to these connection.) Like the Quay's work, this book is dark, dense and claustrophobic. Each page melds two extremes to create a single disturbing image. On the one hand we have finely, almost obsessively, detailed pen and ink drawings. But against those detailed and almost photo realistic backgrounds we have the doll character figures, which are almost cartoonish blanks. Imagine a classic urban landscape painting, (say Hopper's "Nighthawks"), but then populate it with really creepy, leering stick figures. That's a suggestion of the effect you get here. It is not a gimmick and it doesn't come across as merely an academic exercise. These are so discordant, noir and visceral that the reader is both fascinated and disturbed. I'm not sure how you can be precise and evasive at the same time, but Coyle achieves that on every page. This is just a remarkable book. For what it's worth, the book opens with a foreward by Shaun Tan, a big deal in the world of graphic artists and the creator of several very successful books. I skimmed the intro, concluded than Tan was a pretty self-absorbed baloney artist, and moved on. About half-way through the book I decided I might benefit from Tan's thoughts. Rereading his intro closely, with the benfit of having looked at Coyle's work, I found the Tan intro to be thoughtful, coherent and constructive. So I apologize to Shaun Tan for dismissing his foreward, and encourage you to look at it at some point when reading this book. Just saying. Anyway, if you pay any attention at all to graphic novels, or if you just want a taste of what's at the cutting edge, this strikes me as a fine choice and an excellent find. (Please note that I received a free advance will-self-destruct-in-x-days Adobe Digital copy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nikki in Niagara

    What on earth can I say about this? It is totally abstract and confusing yet the artwork compels one to continue turning the page. A very weird noir tale that may or may not be a story. The text and pictures don't seem to relate to each other and yet in the occasional word they do which made me strive for comprehension. Every other page we have short snippets of text alternating with full page bizarre and grotesque illustrations. The text is a conversation (with no quotations) between two people What on earth can I say about this? It is totally abstract and confusing yet the artwork compels one to continue turning the page. A very weird noir tale that may or may not be a story. The text and pictures don't seem to relate to each other and yet in the occasional word they do which made me strive for comprehension. Every other page we have short snippets of text alternating with full page bizarre and grotesque illustrations. The text is a conversation (with no quotations) between two people. The conversation seems to be with a mental patient and someone who knows him. The illustrations, however, show some dolls finding a murder scene in their home and then their journey after they leave the house. The dolls are recognisable. The first one is startling as it is a Golliwog doll and he is the main character. Next is what I identified as an old Elf on the Shelf but the acknowledgements name it as a Gerry Gee ventriloquist doll. The third doll I'm presuming is known too but I didn't recognise it, though I sensed perhaps it was a French man. The images are bizarre: a murder scene with a decapitated head, later on, a decapitated dog, the french doll without his pants and his privates clearly visible, a man stuffing himself into a suitcase. It's a gorgeous, compelling,macabre book butI could make no sense of it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rin

    Uhhhh. This, is not even close to your average graphic novel. If you are sensitive to creepy material, probably go ahead and skip this. Despite the initial shock you are going to receive from the pictures, I suggest pushing through to the end. The story is actually quite beautiful and is one of those short stories that 1. Captures your attention and 2. Truly makes you think. I feel it is a pretty accurate representation of a mind that is different from the rest. It could be because this mind is a Uhhhh. This, is not even close to your average graphic novel. If you are sensitive to creepy material, probably go ahead and skip this. Despite the initial shock you are going to receive from the pictures, I suggest pushing through to the end. The story is actually quite beautiful and is one of those short stories that 1. Captures your attention and 2. Truly makes you think. I feel it is a pretty accurate representation of a mind that is different from the rest. It could be because this mind is afflicted with a mental illness or it could be straight creativity, but this book is probably the weirdest yet most thought provoking book I’ve ever read, even with its short page count. The pictures are one in a million. I can’t even imagine how long it took to create them and what it took to even come up with some of these concepts. Overall, I really liked it. It was completely out of the box and the story of being so full of worry that you have to escape and then switch things up, speaks to the deeper emotional side that I have.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kassie Kay

    I was glad to hear I was not the only one that had a hard time following the text because a lot of it is left up to your own mind but I really did enjoy how abstract the book is and I really love the art that goes along with the story.I personally wouldn't not call it a graphic novel because it does present itself like a children's book but it is a very eerie and haunting story.With a book like this I think you can either make the story really great or you can just throw it off as awful because I was glad to hear I was not the only one that had a hard time following the text because a lot of it is left up to your own mind but I really did enjoy how abstract the book is and I really love the art that goes along with the story.I personally wouldn't not call it a graphic novel because it does present itself like a children's book but it is a very eerie and haunting story.With a book like this I think you can either make the story really great or you can just throw it off as awful because you want the author to give you every piece of information it is really up to you and how you except the writing style because it is very different but I love how it is not like every other book and some of the text has kind of stuck with me the past few days I find myself thinking back to this book quite often.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brian Rothbart

    This review is based on the e-book, so it was a little hard to make out all the details of the accompanying photos, but it was still a creepy read. This is not your typical graphic novel as it has photos/illustrations that accompanying short story. The photos are really creepy as is the story. Any story that is about dolls is creepy enough and this amazing work is no different. The real question is are the dolls witnesses or the perpetrators. A nice, short, creepy read. Don't read it before you g This review is based on the e-book, so it was a little hard to make out all the details of the accompanying photos, but it was still a creepy read. This is not your typical graphic novel as it has photos/illustrations that accompanying short story. The photos are really creepy as is the story. Any story that is about dolls is creepy enough and this amazing work is no different. The real question is are the dolls witnesses or the perpetrators. A nice, short, creepy read. Don't read it before you go to sleep. I'm looking forward of reading more works by Matt Coyle, he is someone to watch.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Hyacinth

    I won this book in a goodreads giveaway. Thank you for the opportunity to read and give my honest opinion. Okay, I have to admit I am not ready for all genres. With that being said, this book scared me. I kept thinking, did these dolls kill their host and pretended someone else did? Is this the start of a new genre? I don't even know how to classify this? I am looking at my dolls sideways now, lol. I don't really know what I read, I just know that it was dark with a twist of disturbing and I'll I won this book in a goodreads giveaway. Thank you for the opportunity to read and give my honest opinion. Okay, I have to admit I am not ready for all genres. With that being said, this book scared me. I kept thinking, did these dolls kill their host and pretended someone else did? Is this the start of a new genre? I don't even know how to classify this? I am looking at my dolls sideways now, lol. I don't really know what I read, I just know that it was dark with a twist of disturbing and I'll be sleeping with an eye open for a few days.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kristine

    Worry Doll by Matt Coyle is a free NetGalley graphic novel that I read in mid-August. Less of a graphic novel, more like Skywriting by Word of Mouth with creepy doll photographs/vignettes that are expressionist in nature. Its short stories consist of self-reflections, recollections, and things-should've-said. Worry Doll by Matt Coyle is a free NetGalley graphic novel that I read in mid-August. Less of a graphic novel, more like Skywriting by Word of Mouth with creepy doll photographs/vignettes that are expressionist in nature. Its short stories consist of self-reflections, recollections, and things-should've-said.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Points for creativity. And great art. But it was odd and hard to follow. It definitely wasn't a normal narrative and I guess that's what I expected. Recommended if you like experimental stuff. And maybe creepy stuff. I like creepy stuff but I would have liked it better if I could follow it. Thanks to NetGalley and Dover Publications for a copy in return for an honest review. Points for creativity. And great art. But it was odd and hard to follow. It definitely wasn't a normal narrative and I guess that's what I expected. Recommended if you like experimental stuff. And maybe creepy stuff. I like creepy stuff but I would have liked it better if I could follow it. Thanks to NetGalley and Dover Publications for a copy in return for an honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    This isn't really a graphic novel. It's snippets and musings interspersed with art. What you get is a snippet of a story followed by a page of art. There's no real story, just rambling musings of the author. The art within is pretty great, with a hyper-photo-realistic style. Received an advance copy from Dover and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This isn't really a graphic novel. It's snippets and musings interspersed with art. What you get is a snippet of a story followed by a page of art. There's no real story, just rambling musings of the author. The art within is pretty great, with a hyper-photo-realistic style. Received an advance copy from Dover and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    My first Goodreads giveaway win! Unfortunately, I am starting to wonder if graphic novels are not my thing. Coyle has immense talent, as shown through his illustrations, but the writing/story did nothing for me. I was really excited to receive this in the mail but it definitely felt like a let down.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Moore

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mark Rafidi

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alex Jacobsen

  22. 4 out of 5

    Todd

    A very dark graphic novel that needs to be read several times for full effect.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Clorinspats Clorinspats

  24. 4 out of 5

    Drew

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lt

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

  27. 4 out of 5

    Patt

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Rutherford

  29. 5 out of 5

    Louise BDGG

  30. 5 out of 5

    blacksmith

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