Demon Press Review: Ghost Teller

The webcomic Ghost Teller is, in effect, an anthology of short stories told by ghosts, each showing humans at their very worst. This series by creator QTT shines in its ability to deliver narrative twists as well as its incredible full-color illustrations.

Despite being labeled as horror, the tales told in Ghost Teller are not as much frightening as they are tragic, often ending with the wrongdoer getting away with their evil actions. Other times, ending with the demise of the character we had wanted to succeed. Most of the comic highlights the damage caused by human greed and chronicles the stories of individuals or organizations so desperate for personal gain that they would go out of their way to harm the lives of others. For example, one installment focuses on a steel company with “zero accidents.” Another (my favorite, though the ending is frustrating) is about a neighborhood where the government is constructing “a danger to the community.” The selling point of the narrative is the way it explores perspective. For one thing, the tales are told by ghosts about humans, contrasting with the usual ghost stories that humans share. Even then, some of the tales turn themselves upside-down part of the way through, adding a new perspective to reveal that the side we were rooting for had been in the wrong from the beginning. As much as I would like to give an example, there is no way to provide one without spoiling the twist.

Each installment is framed as a reverse ghost story—a human story, if you will—told by ghosts, about humans, to frighten other ghosts. The spirits involved are all introduced at the start of the comic, and each gets their chance to tell a story; most of them relate in some way to how that spirit passed away, though not all of them. It does a good job of keeping you guessing, preventing the stories from getting predictable or repetitive. The cast is surprisingly memorable, considering that most of them don’t get much more than one short story’s worth of screentime. Their visual designs contribute to that; it is clear that the creator put a lot of care into their looks from facial expressions to clothing choices. The visuals of the characters gathered around a table in a dimly lit room is reminiscent of children telling spooky stories at a sleepover, and it is fascinating to see the situation flipped so that we are now the sources of horror.

The visuals in this comic are incredible–in fact, they’re my favorite aspect of Ghost Teller. The panels are rendered in full color, and the style is really unique. Even though vivid colors are used, the art has a strange ominousness to it, conveyed through shadows and dark backgrounds. The creator uses the medium of webcomics, which are read by scrolling vertically through panels, to deliver a strikingly cinematic experience; the paneling can feel more like watching a movie than reading a comic. The way the lighting is done is ridiculously impressive, helping to create that aforementioned shadowy and dark atmosphere, but, additionally, creating highlights on the characters which give them a reflective, almost ghostly quality (even for the characters who are in fact human).

For the comic overall, the most significant flaw is that, like any series, the installments vary in quality. There are thirteen in total, and I have a few favorites and a few I didn’t particularly remember. Ghost Teller was published in two “seasons”, and the tales in the first are noticeably more interesting than those in the second, with the second season focusing less on the importance of perspective. It is also worth noting that the first story, titled “The Story of That Woman,” is not really a good indication of how engaging and creative later stories are. By no means are any of the stories entirely bad; they are all worth reading. After all, the artwork is consistently incredible throughout.

The haunting art style and tragic tales make Ghost Teller a memorable and addicting read that I recommend to anyone who enjoys webcomics or psychological stories. Honestly, I would recommend it to anyone interested in art in general because the visuals are really worth appreciating. Unfortunately, the most tragic part of Ghost Teller is that it is no longer free to read, but I still suggest that those interested visit Webtoon’s website to at least read the allotted one free chapter a day. This is my favorite comic I have written about so far, and I look forward to discussing many more in the upcoming weeks.

— Quinley Hammon