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Cinema Panopticum

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  498 ratings  ·  48 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 fascinat
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 105 books — 66 voters
Red Rackham's Treasure by HergéThe Incal by Alejandro JodorowskyThe Nikopol Trilogy by Enki BilalTintin in Tibet by HergéAsterix in Britain by René Goscinny
Best European Graphic Novels/Comics
106th out of 448 books — 143 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 920)
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Sam Quixote
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
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
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.
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
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.
Andrés Santiago
Escheresque and nightmarish, one of the best graphic novels Ive ever read. Haunting and beautiful, I could re-read this ad nauseam. ...more
Titis Wardhana
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
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
Ana  Lourenço
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.
This absolutely gonna be a favorite. Even without words, the simplicity and the details of the art can captured the attentions. The horror itself also became a great value of this graphic novel. BRAVO, Thomas Ott!!
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.
Assem  A. Hendawi
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
Clever little wordless graphic novel! Don't miss it.
WOW, another brilliant picture book by Thomas Ott!

Isinya 5 buah cerita pendek - diawali dengan THE GIRL, cerita tentang seorang gadis kecil yang pergi jalan-jalan ke taman hiburan. Dengan uang yang terbatas, banyak wahana yang tidak bisa dinaiki. Akhirnya gadis itu masuk ke stand CINEMA PANOPTICUM, dimana dia bisa menonton film-film singkat hanya dengan harga 1 dime/sen. Di stand itu dia menonton 4 film (cerita) : the hotel, the prophet, the champion, the experiment. Horor banget deh.

Walau diba
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
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
Absolutely stunning!
DJ Dycus
A very intriguing little book. It is an entirely visual narrative that's a cross between Edward Gorey and Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes. Ott's style is reminiscent of wood cuts.

He presents us with a series of stories within the story, each one of which is more macabre than the one before.
Apr 14, 2010 M. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010, comix
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.
Sue Smith

Gawd I love scratchboard art - it's so incredibly graphic and expressive. It gives the grittiness and edge to what would otherwise be something mundane. This book will have you going back over and over to 'reread' the stories and marveling at the details. Loved it!
Micah Wallace
Dec 11, 2007 Micah Wallace rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone with a bit of a dark side
Great concept and beautiful, highly effective art. My only complaint is that a few of the stories fall a little flat (the hotel, the prophet). The others are entertaining and have great little payoffs. My favorite chapter is The Experiment--a perfect mix of dark, scary, and funny.
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. Terrific work, highly recommend.
Thomas Ott is a master of storytelling and image-making. A little bit of noir, echoes of the Twilight Zone, some gallows humor, and such obvious love in every stroke, every panel. He speaks loudly without saying a word.
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.
Jan 15, 2012 Twan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: comics
I've had a bit of a Thomas Ott session of late but I think this may be the one I enjoyed the most, especially 'The Hotel'. Great stuff from an amazing artist.
The wordless narration really works well for this, especially the illustrations which is fantastic. Definitely one of my favorites. Well done, Mr. Ott.
Read this in one sitting--stunning---like watching a silent Twilight Zone unfold--beautiful and haunting art with touch of malice--love it!
Perfection in its purest form. Horrifying images and absolutely perfect illustrations. Wonderful stories happening in one place.
As much as I love it whenever an artist masters scratchboard, or horror (rare), I didn't 'get' this particular work.
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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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