A quiet but impactful story, Roommate by Ying Tran says more through its images and character expressions. It’s a powerful narrative about seeing and acknowledging the people (or ghosts) who look out for us.
Lan, a student who works in a café, accidentally brings home a ghost named Lin after placing an offering (a flower) on an Encensory. At first, it seems that Lan doesn’t notice, although it shows, later on, that she becomes aware of the new presence. And when she does, she and Lin start to form an emotional bond.
Roommate, a webcomic without dialogue, demonstrates the power of visual storytelling. The story provides not only a balance of drama and humor, but it also shows emotions and dynamics in a small space. In this story, every image, from a rainy day to a pendant, matters. The imagery reveals character and conflict without the need for verbal communication between characters.
When the story reaches the part where Lan finally notices and acknowledges Lin’s presence, it’s subtle and straightforward at the same time. There’s no need to verbally explain character backstories and place details; it’s all in the body language and images.
Ying Tran wonderfully provides an emotional impact that leaves a lingering impression after reading. Each panel effortlessly shows moments like having a nightmare, protecting someone, and the sensation of being seen (in this case, noticing a ghost.) Ying Tran utilizes simple but evocative imagery to construct an unforgettable narrative. Roommate is a gorgeous silent webcomic about seeing and human contact.
If you’re interested in reading another webcomic without dialogue, I highly recommend Wandering Souls by Diana.
For more great webcomic recommendations, check out our Wednesday Webcomics archives!
Author: Brahidaliz Martinez
Brahidaliz (pronounced Bra-da-leez) is a 2019 graduate of American University’s MFA in creative writing program. Their cross-genre chapbook, Coquí’s Song, is forthcoming (2023) from Mason Jar Press.
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