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BTTM FDRS

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Once a thriving working class neighborhood on Chicago’s south side, the “Bottomyards” is now the definition of urban blight. When an aspiring fashion designer named Darla and her image-obsessed friend, Cynthia, descend upon the neighborhood in search of cheap rent, they soon discover something far more seductive and sinister lurking behind the walls of their new home. Like Once a thriving working class neighborhood on Chicago’s south side, the “Bottomyards” is now the definition of urban blight. When an aspiring fashion designer named Darla and her image-obsessed friend, Cynthia, descend upon the neighborhood in search of cheap rent, they soon discover something far more seductive and sinister lurking behind the walls of their new home. Like a cross between Jordan Peele’s Get Out and John Carpenter’s The Thing, Daniels and Passmore’s BTTM FDRS (pronounced “bottomfeeders”) offers a vision of horror that is gross and gory in all the right ways. At turns funny, scary, and thought provoking, it unflinchingly confronts the monsters—both metaphoric and real—that are displacing cultures in urban neighborhoods today.


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Once a thriving working class neighborhood on Chicago’s south side, the “Bottomyards” is now the definition of urban blight. When an aspiring fashion designer named Darla and her image-obsessed friend, Cynthia, descend upon the neighborhood in search of cheap rent, they soon discover something far more seductive and sinister lurking behind the walls of their new home. Like Once a thriving working class neighborhood on Chicago’s south side, the “Bottomyards” is now the definition of urban blight. When an aspiring fashion designer named Darla and her image-obsessed friend, Cynthia, descend upon the neighborhood in search of cheap rent, they soon discover something far more seductive and sinister lurking behind the walls of their new home. Like a cross between Jordan Peele’s Get Out and John Carpenter’s The Thing, Daniels and Passmore’s BTTM FDRS (pronounced “bottomfeeders”) offers a vision of horror that is gross and gory in all the right ways. At turns funny, scary, and thought provoking, it unflinchingly confronts the monsters—both metaphoric and real—that are displacing cultures in urban neighborhoods today.

30 review for BTTM FDRS

  1. 5 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    Ezra Clayton Daniels (Upgrade Soul) wrote this, BTTM FDRS, (pronounced Bottomfeeders) and Ben Passmore (My Black Friend) illustrated this, which deals with issues of gentrification and white privilege in the guise of what I didn't even know was a thing: "Gentrification horror"!? There is also "body horror," which is physical horror, think: David Cronenberg, sliming, a range of gross stuff. As with other horror comics, such as The Swamp Thing, there is horror that matches the social horrors of ra Ezra Clayton Daniels (Upgrade Soul) wrote this, BTTM FDRS, (pronounced Bottomfeeders) and Ben Passmore (My Black Friend) illustrated this, which deals with issues of gentrification and white privilege in the guise of what I didn't even know was a thing: "Gentrification horror"!? There is also "body horror," which is physical horror, think: David Cronenberg, sliming, a range of gross stuff. As with other horror comics, such as The Swamp Thing, there is horror that matches the social horrors of racism, sexism, and so on. Takes place on Chicago's south side, where a fashion designer and her friend seem to be living in a large abandoned building. But something's not quite right, about the economics of the situation, gentrification, but also seemingly scary things going on there. There are moments where the dialogue reveals some social commentary, and the authors inject some humor into it, but the story is less impressive than the art, which has an alt-comics feel to it to match the contemporary urban context. I didn't love it, maybe a 3.5 rating, but give it points for uniqueness: The touches of social commentary, the humor to match/undermine the horror, the artwork, the meshing of the political with horror.

  2. 5 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    Hmm... this is a tough one to rate. I think I'll go with 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for GR. The pros: first of all, I heard this graphic novel referred to as gentrification horror, and that sums it up incredibly well. It's horror, it's spooky and it's weird, but it also deals with a lot of commentary regarding gentrification, POC lives being pushed aside and erased for white comfort, etc. There's a ton of good commentary going on here, including the black MC's best friend having a meltdown over Hmm... this is a tough one to rate. I think I'll go with 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for GR. The pros: first of all, I heard this graphic novel referred to as gentrification horror, and that sums it up incredibly well. It's horror, it's spooky and it's weird, but it also deals with a lot of commentary regarding gentrification, POC lives being pushed aside and erased for white comfort, etc. There's a ton of good commentary going on here, including the black MC's best friend having a meltdown over how "white people's opinions never seem to matter anymore", etc. (but she's not racist, you know! how dare you?!). Parts of the book are very subtle while others are brutally on-the-nose, and it's all done very well. The cons, however: first, this art is... well, it's a mixed bag. On one hand, it's visually interesting and I think it's neat, how certain "scenes" are color-coded to different colors to separate them from the scene before. It's an easy way to show time-skips, location jumps, etc., without devoting any of the actual storyline to letting you know. That said, the monochrome aspects made it a little tough for the finer details to come across sometimes, and the drawing style itself, while this is totally subjective, is not one that I personally enjoy. The other issue I had is that the story just doesn't make any sense at times. I know a lot of people enjoy semi-bizarro horror that doesn't have a lot of rhyme or reason to it, and if that's you, DEFINITELY grab a copy of this one, but that's not me. I wanted to know why these things were happening (more than the iota of backstory we got) and how the entity in the story became so powerful, but I didn't get any of that. I think BTTM FDRS would function much better as a novel or novella than a graphic novel, but that's just me. I received this item for free from the Amazon Vine reviewing program in exchange for my honest opinion. My review has not been influenced or altered in any way.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jesús

    BTTM FDRS is a bonkers sci-fi/horror tale that’s told with a talent for character, with actual insights into the past and present of housing segregation, and with a genuine affection for goofy, B-movie horror. The story, setting, and premise are the perfect collaborative match for the uncanny body-horror of writer Ezra Clayton Daniels (Upgrade Soul) and the pop-punk anarchism of artist Ben Passmore (Daygloayhole).

  4. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    Daniels and Passmore offer up a wonderful kaleidoscope of urbanity & its horrors. Stemming from poverty, gentrification & capitalism, broken bodies, isolation...this world could be dire. There are a few moments of deep commentary, especially around white privilege, SJW-ism and commodification of colonial communities and communities of color, but Daniels injects the right amount of humor into the script. Couple that with Passmore's illustrations, so full of expressiveness, and the horror Daniels and Passmore offer up a wonderful kaleidoscope of urbanity & its horrors. Stemming from poverty, gentrification & capitalism, broken bodies, isolation...this world could be dire. There are a few moments of deep commentary, especially around white privilege, SJW-ism and commodification of colonial communities and communities of color, but Daniels injects the right amount of humor into the script. Couple that with Passmore's illustrations, so full of expressiveness, and the horror is removed just enough to be able to say, "I enjoyed that!" inasmuch as one sympathetic reader can enjoy gentrification, racism and their concomitant horrors, mind you.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stewart Tame

    I didn't really know what to expect going into this. The cover was intriguing and mysterious. The artwork kind of reminded me of Julie Doucet’s work. And the quote on the front cover promised “Gentrification horror …” I honestly didn't recognize Ezra Claytan Daniels’ name from Upgrade Soul, which I loved. Shame on me. So what's the story with Bttm Fdrs? Darla is an aspiring fashion designer who's just moving into an apartment in the Bottomyards, one of Chicago’s examples of urban decay. But the r I didn't really know what to expect going into this. The cover was intriguing and mysterious. The artwork kind of reminded me of Julie Doucet’s work. And the quote on the front cover promised “Gentrification horror …” I honestly didn't recognize Ezra Claytan Daniels’ name from Upgrade Soul, which I loved. Shame on me. So what's the story with Bttm Fdrs? Darla is an aspiring fashion designer who's just moving into an apartment in the Bottomyards, one of Chicago’s examples of urban decay. But the rent is cheap, and the landlord is trying to attract more trendy types by offering perks like free cable. But there's something … off … about the building. It may be the lack of windows. Or the strange noises. Or the way the lights flicker. Or the coaxial cable that seems to grow overnight. Soon Darla and her BFF Cynthia are face to face with what lurks in the walls and the basement … This was a wonderfully creepy book. The pacing kept me on the edge of my seat, and the characters were engaging. We're talking seriously good comics horror here. The book itself is lovely. Notice those embossed millipede thingies? That's an effect you won't get on your Kindle. I thoroughly enjoyed this. Highly recommended!

  6. 4 out of 5

    TammyJo Eckhart

    The art is very colorful and has an edgy quality to it that I don't normally like but it really worked with the story. The changes in colors signaled what was happening, ratcheting up the creepiness without relying on the traditional dark-light or grayscale format. Our main viewpoint character is Darla, an artist who is returning to where she grew up in Chicago, the Bottomyards, which has decayed through institutional and social racism. Darla may complain about people buying up the buildings but The art is very colorful and has an edgy quality to it that I don't normally like but it really worked with the story. The changes in colors signaled what was happening, ratcheting up the creepiness without relying on the traditional dark-light or grayscale format. Our main viewpoint character is Darla, an artist who is returning to where she grew up in Chicago, the Bottomyards, which has decayed through institutional and social racism. Darla may complain about people buying up the buildings but she, too, is taking advantage of the lower rents for an apartment that can also serve as artist studio. We get enough into her life and mind that I was able to develop strong empathy for her. Thus the everyday struggles and the weird horror of the building felt more intense. That weird horror is science fiction in nature and without revealing too much, let me add it deals with the unjust treatment of women and minorities by business and government agencies as well. Through Darla's friends, neighbors, and others she interacts with, that horror is cranked up further.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nica

    Art ⭐⭐⭐⭐Story⭐⭐⭐ The punk comic style art & the colouring were so very appealing, but i don’t think it conveyed the monster & gore horror aspect of this story well-in either a realistic or satirical way. I was totally on board with the themes of gentrification, white privilege, and science manipulated for profit & political gain, but unfortunately the dialogue did not allow the complex story to delve deeply enough to make me care. I really enjoyed this graphic novel, but it could hav Art ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Story⭐️⭐️⭐️ The punk comic style art & the colouring were so very appealing, but i don’t think it conveyed the monster & gore horror aspect of this story well-in either a realistic or satirical way. I was totally on board with the themes of gentrification, white privilege, and science manipulated for profit & political gain, but unfortunately the dialogue did not allow the complex story to delve deeply enough to make me care. I really enjoyed this graphic novel, but it could have been so much more. The whole thing came off kinda glib.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen

    I liked this *idea* a lot and I loved the characters and the art and the commentary but also body horror just isn't really for me. This is maybe also the point, but I found the "monster" really difficult to see and conceptualize, which I think made it a little less scary. Overall I would recommend.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cy

    that was wild

  10. 5 out of 5

    Liz Yerby

    The characters and struggles felt very real, not sure I followed the full monster metaphor but I still appreciated it none the less. It’s one of those books that I think could’ve benefitted from being longer, because I enjoyed it so much, but the action scenes felt rushed. As expected the coloring was excellent!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    Recommended for fans of Jordan Peele, this wry horror graphic novel pokes at gentrification and complicity. Great art with a bright, surreal palette.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    The story and art didn't quite sync up in this book, unfortunately. I've enjoyed other works by these two, but it was kind of like when two musicians collaborate on a song that's just okay. I could see what each person brought to the table, but would rather read their solo stuff instead.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Salzano

    This was a good graphic novel. Don't let the rating I gave fool you. I explain it a bit later. I like the style of the art, and the themes of gentrification and issues with white privilege were well done. However, when I picked this book up I didn't realize how "horror" it would be. It isn't terribly gory. I'm pretty sure if you read Walking Dead and similar graphic novels (I'd give more title examples but I'm really NOT into gory so I can't think of any and I haven't even read Walking Dead, tha This was a good graphic novel. Don't let the rating I gave fool you. I explain it a bit later. I like the style of the art, and the themes of gentrification and issues with white privilege were well done. However, when I picked this book up I didn't realize how "horror" it would be. It isn't terribly gory. I'm pretty sure if you read Walking Dead and similar graphic novels (I'd give more title examples but I'm really NOT into gory so I can't think of any and I haven't even read Walking Dead, that title example is based purely on the covers I've seen and therefore might also be wrong) you won't find it shocking or disturbing at all. I wouldn't say I found it shocking in this book either. But I probably wouldn't have picked it up knowing the level of gore/horror present. This does not mean it isn't a good book. It is a good book. And I think it is a really important book to read if you can handle that horror aspect. The message is great. I just know myself and the way I get nightmares from not that scary things so I wouldn't have picked it up if I'd known. So warning to others who don't do well in the horror genre. But definitely a "book-to-read" for everyone who wants to read about complex social issues in a graphic novel and get a horror fix at the same time!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    Gentrification Body Horror. Those are words I never expected to see together. White people using diversity for cool points has always been a thing, and the criticism flows without ever feeling unsuited for the book. Smart satire is abundant throughout the story, which is probably the most fascinating part of the writing. I love Horror, but the danger presented in the book never felt intent on being more than a vehicle for the satire. That works for most of the book, but the ending wrapped up a b Gentrification Body Horror. Those are words I never expected to see together. White people using diversity for cool points has always been a thing, and the criticism flows without ever feeling unsuited for the book. Smart satire is abundant throughout the story, which is probably the most fascinating part of the writing. I love Horror, but the danger presented in the book never felt intent on being more than a vehicle for the satire. That works for most of the book, but the ending wrapped up a bit suddenly with too much exposition for my tastes. It honestly felt sloppy. Still, even with that minor detraction, it's such a fascinating, unique book that it's well worth the read. I think Passmore's art is the star of the show here. I never thought about how suited his style would be to make people look so gross! His color palette is interesting, because many pages are almost entirely one color at a time. This does a great job of setting a mood for different scenes, and it makes things that aren't that color really pop and draw the eye. For those who like societal commentary, Indie comics, or unique and expressive art. Not for white people who can't take criticism (so read it anyway) or those who stray away from avant-garde comics.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dakota Morgan

    All the pull quotes for BTTM FDRS call out that it's a weird mixture of body horror and gentrification horror and those quotes are not wrong. This is some weird shit. It's got a lot to say about classism and racism. It's also got an apartment building with no windows that appears to be devouring its residents. So, it's a real dense stew of ideas. I found myself enjoying the mix, for the most part. The class/race stuff could feel heavy-handed at points, but it was also apt for our current climate All the pull quotes for BTTM FDRS call out that it's a weird mixture of body horror and gentrification horror and those quotes are not wrong. This is some weird shit. It's got a lot to say about classism and racism. It's also got an apartment building with no windows that appears to be devouring its residents. So, it's a real dense stew of ideas. I found myself enjoying the mix, for the most part. The class/race stuff could feel heavy-handed at points, but it was also apt for our current climate and you could tell the authors weren't tossing around these issues purely for plot purposes - they wanted to say something about society. The horror stuff was delightfully messed up, quality weirdness that kept me flipping pages at a fast rate. Ben Passmore's art was perfectly suited to the story. I did feel a bit adrift in the early pages (Are we in the future? Is there a Bottom Yards in Chicago? What the heck is this monster?), but the story very quickly drew me in even though it didn't necessarily answer my questions. BTTM FDRS feels like a book that's gonna get some Eisner noms.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nick Klagge

    The blurb on the front says, "Gentrification horror at its finest." I can't disagree with this, but it makes me wonder, is "gentrification horror" a subgenre that predated "BTTM FDRS"? If so, I definitely would like to read other examples! I thought this book did a great job of taking on some of the complex issues around gentrification without coming across a preachy. Mostly, I think it achieved this by just being weird as hell and sticking to its guns. Passmore's art is very distinctive, with m The blurb on the front says, "Gentrification horror at its finest." I can't disagree with this, but it makes me wonder, is "gentrification horror" a subgenre that predated "BTTM FDRS"? If so, I definitely would like to read other examples! I thought this book did a great job of taking on some of the complex issues around gentrification without coming across a preachy. Mostly, I think it achieved this by just being weird as hell and sticking to its guns. Passmore's art is very distinctive, with more or less realist line drawings saturated in wild and varying bright colors. The illustrations of the "thing" in the building reminded me a little of the gonzo quasi-gross-out art of the game "Epic Spell Wars." "Goddamn duck-snake hybrids!"

  17. 4 out of 5

    Luke Stacks

    Excellent pacing and composition set this book apart from more formulaic horror-as-social-commentary. Daniels and Passmore really, really, really want you to know this book is about gentrification, as the characters discuss at length. Luckily, the central horror story makes the point more effectively and features gonzo details that make the book linger and resist easy codification (a la "the real monster is X").

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sean Kottke

    An almost Lovecraftian piece of gentrification horror, where the monsters aren't just the tentacled beasts from another world. The story is a great satire of gentrification and the (literal) care and feeding of urban communities. There's a whole lot of exposition saved up for the final quarter of the book, and the oddly distorted rendering of physical spaces within the building at the center of the story contributes to the eerie atmosphere.

  19. 4 out of 5

    P.

    Passmore and Daniels, what a combo! A creepy, gross, darkly funny comic that sets the scene succintly and gets right to the action/gore and has a sort of(?) redemptive ending. The commentary on gentrification, microaggressions and the co-opting/stymie-ing of Black genius by whiteppl combines with the sci-fi and horror in a particularly seamless way.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This book is so weird and wonderful. It's hard to write a story that is so original that it's unpredictable. I had no idea how to plot would unfold and that kept me hooked. Ben Passmore's illustrations are so detailed and delightful that I want to read this a second time to pick up on all the visual jokes I missed the first time.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    An incredible graphic novel about gentrification and cultural appropriation cloaked in a horror story. Daniels’ writing is phenomenal; subtle and real. Passmore’s art is also wonderful, and the perfect aesthetic for this story. After being blown away by Upgrade Soul, I had high expectations for this book and it definitely delivered.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alit

    A well crafted and compelling horror story with a satirical commentary on gentrification. The art is simplistic but beautiful. Most pages are using two, three or four colors. I really like the horizontal format of this book as well with a great spot finish to the cover. If you are a fan of body horror similar to The Thing, you need to pick up this graphic novel.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Corinne Halbert

    Fantastic! The book is jam packed with great storytelling, wonderful artwork, weird body horror, the plights of gentrification and a fictionalized Chicago that feels so very real. Loved this collab between two incredible artists and writers.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Mitchell

    Wasn't sure how I would like this graphic novel at first since the content is not something I normally like, but W O W! This was stellar and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants something a little different. I enjoyed the coloring of this novel and the underlying themes. Great work!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Interesting collab but I feel like things moved a bit quickly. I’m curious how the adaptation will be because I feel like might be able to capture the tone/atmosphere better?

  26. 5 out of 5

    ellis

    UM.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Gardner

    liked the art and the point. but the ending kind of fell flat for me.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Zee

    Incredible.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Collins

    Love the colors, story was really cool too.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Steve Lawson

    Allegorical social commentary with enjoyable characters and very creepy horror.

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