Confetti RealmsConfetti Realms

Writer: Nadia Shammas
Artist: Karnessa
Colorist: Hackto Oshiro
Letterer: Micah Myers
Publisher: Mad Cave Studios – Maverick

Confetti Realms is a coming-of-age teen fiction with a splash of horror, and a gem of a graphic novel. On Halloween night, a group of teenagers set out in search of some boozy fun in the local graveyard, on theme for the occasion. Instead of summoning ghosts, however, they meet an eccentric automaton who sends them on a quest deep into a fantasy realm to collect the teeth that are owed to him. But even with all the trouble they get into to find the teeth and return home, the teenagers’ relationships with their trauma and with each other make them question if going home is what they really want after all—or if they want to stay in this strange world forever.

Writer Nadia Shammas and artist Karnessa take us into the Confetti Realms, a world populated with anthropomorphic denizens who have a talent for making everyone’s fears and troubles bubble to the surface. Though our protagonists inadvertently venture into the world of the unfamiliar, their emotional complexities resonate as struggles true to life—and there’s no shortage of struggles as Marissa, Ty, Radwa, and Garrett deal with obsession, betrayal, isolation, depression, and guilt. With emotions as heavy as those, it’s no wonder they’re tempted to run away from those feelings. But what you want isn’t always what you need.

Confetti Realms

The story takes the group through many twists and turns, but it never loses focus on what we’re here for: the characters. We get to see each of our heroes (flaws and all) interact with each other in private moments, so no dynamic is left unexplored. As serious as that sounds, it’s not always so doom and gloom. The dialogue is witty and fun, and as someone who identifies as queer, the humor that’s so unique to queer spaces had me feeling like the characters could very well be close friends of mine. I was tickled from the start, and it only got better. I do wish we could’ve gotten to know more about Moira, an enigmatic character in a plague mask. I have theories.

The collaboration between Nadia Shammas, Karnessa, and Micah Myers was meant to be in the way of creating strong character voices. There were some parts, including a pantomimed segment, that were so harmonious in dialogue, lettering, and art that it felt as though I might as well be watching living, breathing characters on the TV screen. Of course, I must also give props for the coloring by Hackto Oshiro. The unifying texture and brown tones evoke a sort of comfort unique to autumn. Look to the third act for when those colors switch up and provide a gorgeous, beautiful depiction of transformation, which is the beating heart of the story.

I highly recommend Confetti Realms to anyone who enjoys coming-of-age emotional arcs with a fantasy horror backdrop, reminiscent of the animated TV show Owl House.

Check The Beat’s review section for a new graphic novel review every Friday in 2023!