Tarja: From Spirits And Ghosts (Novel For A Dark Christmas) comic book review

Peter Rogers and Conor Boyle's visual companion to a gothic yuletide.

Tarja's Novel For A Dark Christmas comic book artwork

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The battle between darkness and light has been a popular storytelling trope for centuries, but it’s given a new spin with Finnish soprano Tarja’s official festive comic.

Released to complement her haunting new LP From Spirits And Ghosts, this limited edition, glossy-covered graphic novel has been inspired by the melancholic album track Together and is best viewed while listening to the song itself. ‘Novel’ is the wrong word to describe it though – the 40-pager has no text but comprises illustrated panels that could be a storyboard for one of the singer’s videos. Featuring a sinister (dark) and angelic (light) Tarja, the story follows those who find Christmas a less joyous occasion: the homeless, the elderly, the grieving, and those whose Yuletide is spent in hospital. It’s bleak stuff, but keep going to the end. Although a nice souvenir of the album, The Amory Wars it is not, and if you’re after insight into Turunen’s recorded work or From Spirit’s concept, you won’t find it here. Fans will love the illustration, colouring and fairy tale tradition though.

Natasha Scharf
Deputy Editor, Prog

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.