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Cinema Panopticum Hardcover – July 13, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (July 13, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560976497
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560976493
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,362,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Comics are popularly defined as a combination of words and pictures, but words are no more necessary to the comics than sound is to cinema. Swiss cartoonist Ott employs neither dialogue nor captions in his stories; words appear rarely, usually as chapter titles or signs in the background. Appropriately, Ott uses the early silent cinema as a motif. In the framing sequences, a morose little girl wanders through an old-fashioned amusement park and finds herself alone in the "Cinema Panopticon," which holds coin-operated machines showing silent films. Each film recounts a macabre tale which overturns the laws of reality, leading to a twist ending reminiscent of The Twilight Zone. A man enters a hotel but cannot leave; a masked wrestler battles Death; a patient finds a grotesque cure for his failing vision; a homeless man discovers signs of approaching Apocalypse. In keeping with the silent movie motif, Ott uses black, white and grays, enveloping his realistically drawn characters and settings in an expressionistic mood. The characters initially display understated emotions, and their situations seem familiar. Ott's storytelling moves at a slow but steady pace, making his protagonists' extreme reactions more believable when they, and the readers, are caught in Ott's imaginatively conceived, masterfully executed traps.
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Review

“The wordless noir morality plays are both meticulous and unnerving.” (The Times [London])

“Internal and psychological terrors are Ott's concerns, and language couldn't convey them as powerfully as do his disquieting, foreboding illustrations.” (Booklist)

“[...] Ott's storytelling moves at a slow but steady pace, making his protagonists' extreme reactions more believable when they, and the readers, are caught in Ott's imaginatively conceived, masterfully executed traps.” (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sam Quixote TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A girl at a carnival finds that her small amount of money won't get her onto any rides or do any of the stalls until she finds a small unattended attraction called "Cinema Panopticum". Inside are 5 sets with screens, all cheap. She puts a coin in each and watches them one by one.

"The Hotel" is a Kafka-esque tale of an unattended hotel and a man wanting to stay the night in it. Finding a lavish spread in one room, he feasts upon it and then goes to bed. He wakes in the middle of the night with an ache in his gut... why is this hotel empty?

"The Champion" features a Mexican wrestler literally fighting for his life against Death.

"The Prophet" features a homeless man and his attempts to spread the word that the world is doomed.

"The Experiment" features a mad scientist and his experiment on a man with poor eyesight.

In all the stories, Ott excels at storytelling, all without words. The scratchboard technique in black and white perfectly matches the tone of mounting horror in each of the macabre stories and has you rifling through the pages, devouring each brilliant story.

As with all of Ott's books you can fly through it in minutes but I always find myself going back and looking at individual pages. The level of artistry is astonishing and I wish he'd make poster size reproductions of some of them so I can put them on my walls.

"Cinema Panopticum" might be my favourite Thomas Ott book and I heartily recommend him to all fans of comics. He's simply too good to be passed over.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jared M. on August 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I waited for months to actually order 'Cinema Panopticum', all the while reading a lot of great praise for the book. Nearly every review I came across stated that is was a phenomenal piece of work.

Sadly, I was pretty let down once I had the story in my hands.

Let me be clear - 'Cinema Panopticum' is a beautifully illustrated work. Done totally in black and white, the interior images are captured in clean, crisp panels and convey a great sense of depth. Sadly, that's the only aspect where the graphic novel exceeds expectations. The various stories, which I won't spoil, are all light, simplistic morality tales with little thought or originality. Some of the chapters don't even have a plot; they're just a series of sequential images suggesting movement of a character from one place to the next. I finished the entire book in ten minutes. Then I went back and started it again, hoping to find some pages that may have stuck together and could provide more narrative. Nope - that was it, unfortunately.

Needless to say, I was disappointed by 'Cinema Panopticum'. It's not a bad piece of work, but it's not great either.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Victor Bornia on July 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brilliant, wordless storytelling at its best. Ott's style communicates volumes with minimal fuss, weaving stories that captivate and stimulate.
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By Lizbeth on April 30, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Creepy but gorgeous art without narrative, totally amazed by the secuences and perspective of horror and fear shared on it.
Highly recommended!
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