Arts

The Spectral Engine

Ray Fawkes | McClelland & Stewart

“There are two histories. One is spoken and written, seen in the light of day, and known. One is forgotten. It travels without a sound.”

So opens The Spectral Engine, a new graphic novel written and illustrated by Ray Fawkes. He writes the forgotten history of Canada, occulted and seldom spoken of in daylight, personified by the artist as a monstrous black train.

The Spectral Engine flows like a trans-Canadian haunted walk across the bloodiest deaths in our history. The art of this book is as furious and violent as the stories it illustrates in crisp black and white, including an explosion off the east coast, a flesh-eating spirit in the frozen tundra, and a headless Chinese man hit by a train in Gastown.

The engine itself is the supernatural thread that connects these wayward souls, weaving in and out of history to transport them to and from the last moments of their lives. Reading The Spectral Engine is like telling yourself a campfire story in the dark and though this book is not for the faint of heart, it makes a spectacular Halloween read; it even glows in the dark.

—Mico Mazza