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Cinema Panopticum

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  710 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
T. Ott plunges into the darkness with five new graphic horror novelettes: "The Prophet," "The Wonder Pill," "La Lucha," "The Hotel," and the title story, each executed in his hallucinatory and hyper-detailed scratchboard style and running between 16 to 20 pages. The first story in the book introduces the other four: A little girl visits an amusement park. She looks fascina ...more
Hardcover, 104 pages
Published July 17th 2005 by Fantagraphics (first published June 1st 2005)
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The Arrival by Shaun TanThe Number 73304-23-4153-6-96-8 by Thomas OttCinema Panopticum by Thomas OttThe Frank Book by Jim WoodringWeathercraft by Jim Woodring
Silent / Wordless Graphic Novels
3rd out of 128 books — 82 voters
The Arrival by Shaun TanFlotsam by David WiesnerTuesday by David WiesnerThe Snowman by Raymond BriggsGood Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day
Wordless Picture Books
48th out of 184 books — 279 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,537)
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Sam Quixote
Sep 01, 2014 Sam Quixote rated it it was amazing
The framing device of the book is of a girl at a carnival who discovers that she hasn’t enough money for any of the rides or stalls - that is until she finds a small, unattended attraction called Cinema Panopticum. Inside it are 5 sets with screens, all cheap. She puts a coin in each and watches them one by one...

The Hotel is a Kafka-esque tale of a man wanting to stay the night in, what turns out to be, an empty hotel. Finding a lavish spread in one room, he feasts upon it and then goes to bed
Jan 21, 2013 Forrest rated it it was amazing
From the framing story of The Girl wandering the carnival to the vignettes she discovers in the Cinema Panopticum, this wordless graphic novel is a complete "artifact" with no loose ends. The stories are surreal and horrific with a touch of dark humor. Cinema Panopticum reminds me, in many ways, of my favorite TV show of all time, The Twilight Zone. This work might be considered the flip side to the cute, surreal Ojingogo, with one side of the coin (Panopticum) having a drop of humor in a bucket ...more
This short graphic novel can be read in less than 15 minutes. Its lack of dialogues makes the black and white images even more powerful than they already are. It consists of 5 stories, each exceptional and creepy in its own way. For a fan of The Twilight Zone like me, this graphic novel is like Christmas time.
Jan 16, 2016 Sophie rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
A grotesque graphic novel, wordless and, thus, completely atmospheric, that consists of a series of stories, or rather vignettes, that are all linked together.
Absolutely mesmerizing, with healthy doses of Kafka-esque dark humour.
May 24, 2015 Lee rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic
I don't have much to say about this one, other than the first short story; the hotel, was absolutely brilliant and hilarious. I loved the ending, brilliant! The rest to be honest were pretty average. But The Hotel made up for it.
Aug 26, 2015 Dov rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphics-comics
What a perfectly put-together book. A girl wanders through a fair looking for amusement but finds she doesn't have enough money to enjoy any of its novelties until she happens across an empty booth. "Cinema Panopticum" is part of the fair and yet stands alone and takes the girl away from the mundane into the horrific. There are five little machines, like games in an arcade, but each machine plays a terrifying little movie and she has just enough coins to watch each one, almost as if this encount ...more
David Schaafsma
Gorgeously rendered black and white scratchboard graphic novel of a girl who goes to a carnival to pay pennies to see four thoughtful, not graphic, but still successfully unsettling horror movies in what is called Cinema Panopticum. Silent, and thus somehow even more unsettling. One of several sort of similar and silent works by Ott. Terrific work, highly recommend.
Oct 27, 2015 Meepelous rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
Perhaps the best collection of short horror(ish) stories I have ever read, I was really taken off guard by how much I enjoyed Panopticum. I've never been a huge fan of short stories, and all the Lovecraft style monster tales I've been reading have always left me feeling like things were cut off just as they were getting interesting!

Not so with Panopticum. Three short stories within an overarching narative, each part has a distinct intro, middle and end. The stories are all mind bendingly peculia
Jun 12, 2011 Jien rated it it was amazing
No words are needed here except for the titles of the different sections. This story is worth reading immediately after reading. It is circular in a way that entirely works.
Andrés Santiago
Dec 11, 2014 Andrés Santiago rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
Escheresque and nightmarish, one of the best graphic novels Ive ever read. Haunting and beautiful, I could re-read this ad nauseam. ...more
Oct 29, 2015 Milka rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels, 2015
Cinema Panopticum caught my attention mainly because of the fact that it has the word "cinema" in its title. When it comes to cinema, I feel like I am pulled towards anything to do with it, and pretty much the moment I laid my eyes on this, I picked it up and walked towards the check-out counter.

Cinema Panopticum is a collection of five graphic horror novelettes, which are The Prophet, The Wonder Pill, La Lucha, The Hotel and The Girl. The first story in the book, that being The Girl, introduce
A funny-scary-bizzare work by Thomas Ott, a name I just recently knew about, but his works had given me much enjoyment. I particulary love this one, a series of stories inside a story, which could be read/watch separately - every parts are solid and properly told, or read/watch entirely as whole - and feel the ghastly excitement.

The Girl
A little girl wants to have some fun on an amusment park, but she only has 5 dimes. Everything are too expensive, except for Cinema Panopticum. A dime per cinema
Jan 15, 2016 Eleni rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel

Several of the frames I wish I could have larger for prints in my house. This is the first time I've ever "read" an all-graphics graphic novel, however this didn't leave anything lacking. I feel like any text added would've detracted from such a wonderful experience I had with filling in the gaps.
Very quick read (less than 15 minutes) but I know I'll be coming back to it again and again to admire the beautiful art in this.

Only taking off half a star from the full five because I wish I had a
Dec 14, 2015 Daniel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, horror, ebook
I've always been fascinated by wordless narration and by what it takes from the narrator to effectively tell such a story. Well Ott here gives us a sample of how to do it, and then some. He pulls it off masterfully and is able to get us through a couple of darkly humorous, surprising stories without uttering a single word. It also should be noted that he is an impressive illustrator and that it is quite obvious that he has mastered his technique and style. I really loved this and I'm looking for ...more
Sep 02, 2012 Sophie rated it it was amazing
A very clever, wordless graphic novel. A young girl at a carnival finds the only amusement she can afford is the Cinema Panopticum. The following five stories are the little films she watches: The Hotel, The Champion, The Experiment, The Prophet and The Girl. Each wordless little story has a horror twist at the end which are actually quite quirky and disturbing, in the vein of some of the better Twilight Zone episodes. The art is lovely, scratchboard white on black which gives a dark, atmospheri ...more
Mar 25, 2014 Dewi rated it it was amazing
Astagah! Mengapa saya tidak pernah mendengar nama Thomas Ott sebelum ini :(
Menyimak karya Thomas Ott seperti menonton film era 1920-an alias film bisu dan tanpa warna.
Thomas Ott menyajikan karyanya tanpa adegan percakapan. Lewat kelamnya suasana, ekspresi wajah dan gerak tubuh, ia sukses menyusupkan nuansa horor sampai merasuk ke tulang sumsum. Hebatnya lagi dalam cerita Cinema Panopticum ia membuat kejutan akhir yang tidak terduga. Akhir cerita yang harus ditebak pembaca dan saya baru berhasil
Jan 16, 2013 Paul-Jon rated it liked it
There's lovely woodcutty art in this silent collection of grim tales, with the framing device of a wee girl looking at the stories in viewfinder machines.

It's just a bit of a shame there's not much more to it than the great art. It's an atmosphere piece, I guess, but it's so slight that you don't really get swept into its world.

There's one short story here that's very strong, but the rest of them are basically just undercut by their weak punchlines.

Ocht, it was enjoyable enough.
Apr 14, 2010 M. rated it really liked it
Shelves: comix, 2010
spooky stories told in a streamlined wordless fashion with fantastic art. the atmosphere pervades, and is wonderful. vaguely reminiscent of, perhaps, illustrated thomas ligotti as flash-fiction, though 100 times more successful than the actual graphic adaptations of ligotti that have been produced thus far.
Jun 23, 2012 Joshlynn rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics-and-comix
Ott's art is always delicious to look at, and he takes the tired art-horror tropes to new and disturbing levels. If Lynd Ward and Ingmar Bergman had a child, it'd turn out something like Thomas Ott.
Titis Wardhana
Oct 26, 2012 Titis Wardhana rated it really liked it
Gambarnya yang bikin serem...

Ada gadis kecil yang pergi ke taman hiburan, tapi di sana uangnya gak cukup buat maen, ahirnya dia jalan terus en nemu tenda dengan tulisan Cinema Panopticum, pas masuk ada lima kotak yang cuman butuh satu koin buat maenin, si gadis cilik ini masukin koin ke kotak pertama yang ada tulisannya: The Prophet, ada laki-laki yang memperingatkan orang2 kalau bentar lagi kiamat, jelas gak ada yang percaya sampai ahirnya dia dibawa alien ke luar angkasa, dan terjadilah end of

Dark, mysterious, twisted, funny, beautiful, impressive, quick read, wordless, out of the ordinary, could have been better. Reminded me of Tales from the Crypt. The first story, 'The Hotel', is the best by a wide margin, followed by 'The Prophet', and then the overarching self-referential story, 'The Girl'.

True Rating: 3.7 Stars
Mahmoud Radi
Mar 07, 2016 Mahmoud Radi rated it liked it
Shelves: comic-books
هذا الكتاب انتهيت من قراءته حرفيًا في أقل من ربع الساعة، ربما ﻷن توماس أوت في جميع أعماله المصورة يعتمد على الصورة فقط، لكنه بالرغم من ذلك هو يبحث عن الأثر الذي سيتركه في قارئه بعد الانتهاء من القراءة، خاصة مع الطابع الكابوسي الذي يغلف جميع حكايات الكتاب، وجميع كتبه على حد سواء.
Ana  Lourenço
Apr 15, 2015 Ana Lourenço rated it really liked it
It's dark. That's why I like it. I will pretty much like everything that is macabre in a "good way".

After the story about the man in the hotel, I thought to myself " You freaking evil genius". Yes, you, Thomas Ott.

Anyone can read this in less than 10 minutes, since is purely sequencial art, but I will definitively reread it whenever I feel like it.
May 22, 2016 GONZA rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biblioteca
Such a good graphic novel, it's almost unbelievable what the author did without writing more than 20 words, I'm still astonished...

Bellissima graphic novel, in cui l'autore non scrive piú di 20 parole, e nonostante questa é una delle migliori che io abbia mai "letto".....
Feb 19, 2016 Marsha rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I LOVED this book. There are no words, just pictures and it was simply amazing. The drawings are simple black and white and pretty detailed that you know what is going on in each scene. It is about a girl who has no money to afford to do anything at a fair except to watch movies that cost one coin each. Each movie features a different horror story, and it just gets better and better until the end where the girl runs out of the theater. Good "read".
Feb 08, 2016 Theresa rated it it was amazing
In the very short time it took to "read" this book, I have to say it did blow my mind. The pen and ink sketches were fantastic and the stories were darkly humorous. I also found them to be quite meaningful, but that could just be me reading too much into things.
Oct 03, 2014 verbava rated it really liked it
п'ять історій (одна з яких обрамлення) різного рівня моторошності, сюрреалістичності та чорногуморності, – однак, попри різні пропорції складників, усі вони неодмінно потужні. вкрай приємний макабр.
Oct 08, 2015 Brian rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
Really interesting wordless story, told beautifully and paced well with finely detailed illustrations. It's a fun little graphic short story collection that interweaves nicely.
Lucía O
Jun 16, 2016 Lucía O rated it really liked it
Se "lee" en un ratito, ya que las historias están contadas solamente a través de imágenes. Es oscuro, no solo en su contenido sino también en el estilo.
Assem  A. Hendawi
Jul 26, 2014 Assem A. Hendawi rated it it was amazing
Oh man! How can't you just fall in love with the panopticum?
What a great pleasure discovering Thomas Ott.
Can't recommend it enough
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Apa yang dilihat si Gadis Kecil di Film terakhirnya (The Girl) ? 1 1 Jun 27, 2016 09:32PM  
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"Thomas Ott was born in Zürich in 1966. He received training as a graphic artist at the School of Design in Zürich and has been a free-lance comics artist and illustrator since 1987. From 1998-2001 Ott attended film studies at the University of Art and Design (HGK), Zürich. He currently lives and works in Zürich and Paris. Ott is also the lead singer of The Playboys." -Fantagraphics Books
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