A Hundred Ghost Parade Tonight is the comic adaptation made by Serena Meo, of a story by Xia Jia, Chinese author of Fantasy and Sci-Fi, paired together with the amazing illustrations of Caelpher (Gabriele Ghirelli).
A Hundred Ghost Parade Tonight – Plot
Ning is a boy who lives in Ghost Street, in a funfair in the future. He spends most of his time with very strange friends: spirits, demons, fantastic animals and, obviously, ghosts!
But who is Ning really? And what’s stopping him from running away from there and getting to know a new world?
To discover that, Ning will have to face the ghosts of his past and those – much more real and tangible – of the whole Ghost Street.
Inspired by the notorious story of the sci-fi writer Xia Jia, thanks to Serena Meo and Caelpher G. Ghirelli, the adaptation of A Hundred Ghost Parade Tonight was born, first comic of the Fortesque series.
I bought A Hundred Ghost Parade Tonight after seeing the ad on the page of its illustrator. I waited patiently for it to be available on Amazon since it was first announced.
I buy it and finally it arrives at my house. The comic itself is small, short, it has a matte cover, soft to the touch. It’s short, some 60 coloured pages.
It tells the story of Ning, who lives in the famous Ghost Street, a place where the spirits of those who are not alive anymore live. Their souls are, in fact, enclosed in robotic shells, fake bodies that resemble human bodies. Metallic bodies, made of iron, which however, contain the essence of what they were in life. And after all, what are humans? Body or mind? Therefore, are they less human than those alive?
To be or not to be, is that really the problem?
Ning is told as being the only human being to live in Ghost Street. And everything seems to flow around him like an endless time, until he hears a strange conversation that leads him to question himself and his presence on that road. Is he really a human being? Or is he a construct like the others? Or, perhaps, is he no one? From what he remembers, he has always lived in Ghost Street, while the others had a life in the past, memories and affections. But what is left to little Ning besides that road?
The questions rise, and complicates. It’s a whirling spiral made of brambles, that insinuates in the mind of the protagonist. Takes hold and digs until every part of it is covered. An obsession that pushes to obtain an answer. But what’s the price for such an answer? And which are the battles that are really worth fighting for?
The ghosts of A Hundred Ghost Parade Tonight are spirits with stories and a past. The fearless Yan, the sweet Xiao and all the other ghosts have the burden of what was their previous life, regrets and broken promises on their shoulders. All this shapes their personality is part of their spirit.
I admit not to be an expert on Chinese traditions, but from my researches, I understood that they believe in reincarnation. Take Ghost Street as a sort of metaphorical limbo, where these souls can take their time to make peace with themselves and with their past before going forward. To really detach from their earthly life. We can easily understand what binds Xiao to this world, to Ghost Street and why she doesn’t want to leave it. I can say that I loved this character. The hand of Caelpher makes her extremely vivid. There’s something in her that makes her jump out of the page. It’s a character full of love, but that kind of love that gives out everything and asks nothing. She’s alive, but in her being a ghost.
A mystical journey to the East
As I said many times, I love mythology and I’m really fascinated by this subject. However, mythology is also a vast topic and not always someone has the possibility to know everything.
All this to say what? I appreciated this story a lot, but I think that it can be appreciated furthermore by someone who has a minimal background knowledge of the myths and legends of the Chinese tradition.
And if nothing else, I can say that it really intrigued me to the point I’ll certainly try to inform myself as best as possible.