Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Entry 54: Space Corps

Today I’m going to talk about a comic that I didn’t expect to like. It’s science fiction, which is right up my alley, but it’s also about a military organization, which is about as far from my alley as you can reasonably get without crossing the border. Like many people, I try to be open-minded and explore new things even if I typically regard the subject matter with distaste. However, also like many people, I usually wind up sticking with the types of stories that I already know I enjoy. So I was delighted when, upon warily beginning to read a new and untested comic, I found myself utterly charmed by Space Corps.

The most striking thing about Space Corps, for me, is the sheer diversity of aliens that we get to see. The eponymous organization contains members from a vast number of species, to the extent that you’d be hard-pressed to find any corpsmen who share a species for most of the comic. (With the exception of humans, which I’ll discuss in a bit.)

Very often, in fiction, supposedly interspecies organizations are mostly populated by humans. For television and film, it’s logistically easier to keep most actors out of heavy prosthetics, but the tendency extends to other media as well. Humans write about humans a little more naturally than they write about lifeforms that are not human.

Alternatively, many works feature a handful of alien species, meant to represent a vast and diverse cultural mix but with a small enough number of cultures that it’s easy for the readers (and the creators!) to keep track of them. Space Corps takes things a step further, demonstrating with every page just how many species inhabit this setting. I can’t keep track of all these aliens, and that’s a good thing, because it makes everything feel so much fuller and more complex than it would be if I could get a good grasp of the cultural interplays after only a few minutes of reading.

Above is Lt Adelina, and I’m going to use her as an illustration of the character work that I love in Space Corps. First, she’s a lizard woman, which is just cool. But look at her body shape; somehow, the artist has refrained from drawing the female character with significant cleavage, or even any hint of breasts at all.

Of course, it wouldn’t make any sense whatsoever for Lt Adelina to have a significant bust. One, she’s a lizard, and two, she’s wearing armor. I feel bad even pointing this out, because it’s not so much a good choice as it is the lack of a bad choice, but I’ve seen so many inexplicable drawings of sexy lizard women that just seeing one case of an artist doing the sensible thing instead reaffirms my hope for humanity. Cpl Simmons may be sexualizing Lt Adelina, but the artist does not sink to the level of his characters, and draws her looking just like the soldier that she is.

Like many stories, Space Corps has a gender balance that skews more masculine, but Adelina actually provides an elegant workaround for the issue of gender diversity. Visually, there’s no way to tell that she’s female; the reader only knows because of dialogue. Meanwhile, the vast majority of characters in Space Corps are neither human nor given significant on-page character development. I find it completely plausible that there are a good number of women on these pages, but that their genders are typically irrelevant to the story and unremarked-upon.

That’s just speculation on the part of a reader, but I like the idea, because it gives some weight to the true array of alien beings in this comic. It’s not always possible to tell gender at a glance, especially not with unfamiliar species, and that extra level of unknowns adds to the fun for me.

Space Corps is organized into “issues,” as if it were a serial comic in print. You could probably follow each issue without having read the previous ones, but it’s easiest to read and follow the story by just going in order from the beginning. Starting with Issue #1, Space Corps primarily follows the story of a human named Deven Taylor. The comic doesn’t begin with Issue #1, though. There’s an Issue #0, which contains a few short stories, each focusing on different characters.

So far, the most prevalent perspective in the comic is a human one, but in Issue #0, humans are hardly present. I cannot emphasize enough the impact of beginning from an alien perspective. It builds a setting that feels deep and complete, full of people and conflicts outside a limited human viewpoint. To be sure, a complete and expansive story could be told just from a human perspective, and indeed, many stories have. However, the impression I get with Space Corps is that an equally complete and expansive story could be told from the perspective of any one of the aliens we see.

The idea that one’s own perspective is not definitive that other beings, with entirely dissimilar backgrounds, have equally deep and complex stories to offer is a powerful one. In a story like this, it makes the aliens and their lives seem that much more real and compelling. In real life, it opens up the possibility of understanding and compassion for people whose life experiences differ strongly from our own. To me, Space Corps reinforces the idea that, whether dealing with alien species or just humans with different genetic histories, there’s room to hear and empathise with their stories.

My favorite things about Space Corps are the parts that fill me with curiosity, much of which will likely never be sated. Some questions, such as who the Winnowers are and why they rampage through space leaving a swath of destruction in their wake, may well be addressed as the story progresses. But many small character details may never be resolved, leaving only implications and the reader’s imagination to fill in the gaps.

Take Cpl Hive, who is literally a bunch of bees in a suit. It’s a pretty fun concept, and Hive is presented as a sort of microcosm of the Space Corps as a whole… individuals banding together to protect and help one another, forming a greater force in unity than they could manage as individuals. But I have to wonder… are there other people out there who are bees in a suit? Do the bees reproduce, creating more bees so that Cpl Hive will live as long as the population sustains itself? Did the bees invent the technology that lets them control the suit, or did someone else provide it for them?

Though I love to consider these questions, and I’d definitely get a thrill from answers appearing in the pages of Space Corps, I am completely content with the idea that answers will never come. I actually prefer open questions to concrete explanations, as I enjoy the mystery and the intellectual exercise of forcing myself to accept uncertainty. There’s a reason that “The Quiz Broadcast” series of sketches from That Mitchell and Webb Look forms one of my very favorite science fiction works. Implication can be so much more powerful than exposition, and Space Corps implies far more than could ever be stated outright.

If, upon reading the title Space Corps, you think “Oh man I wanna read that!” then you will not be disappointed; this comic absolutely delivers the kind of sci-fi battles you’re looking for. If, like me, you’re more skeptical, I encourage you to give it a chance. There’s depth here if you look for it, and there’s a sincerity and charm that’s almost seductive. I can almost see the creators pulling my emotional strings, getting me to cheer for developments that I’d normally regard warily. Space Corps makes me sympathize with viewpoints that I normally disagree with, and you know what, I think that’s a good thing. Because I should be able to empathize with people who have different life experiences than my own.

Space Corps is written by Gannon Beck and Bryan Richmond, and drawn by Gannon Beck. Issue #0 also has Joey Groah on the writing team, and colors by Kyle Tobin. Speaking of Issue #0, there’s a Kickstarter campaign to get that in print. Today is its last day, so you still have a few hours to get on that if Space Corps appeals to you.

Have a pleasant day, and remember, for your safety, always be aware of the location of your nearest exit.

I guess in this case the nearest exit is wherever you want it to be.

Previous Entry: Paranatural

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Entry 53: Paranatural

Let me introduce you to the quaint little town of Mayview. This seemingly normal, quiet community… well, really, as soon as I described it as a “quaint little town,” you knew it would be harboring some bizarre and dangerous secret, right? Happy and unassuming settings exist for the express purpose of containing something incongruous. No one wants to read a story about a family who owns a little store in a little town and nothing unusual ever happens to them. And to be honest, you should have a pretty good idea what kind of secrets we’re dealing with as soon as you learn that the comic’s title is Paranatural.

Right up front, a note about spoilers: Paranatural is the type of story that has a lot of mysteries. As a new reader, even the premise is something of a mystery for a good chunk of time. I’ll avoid mentioning plot details from later in the story, but in order to discuss the comic in any depth I’m going to have to mention a little bit about the setting and how things work. If you’d rather not have that given away, go ahead and dive in at the beginning to experience the reveals as they were meant to be read.

If you still need convincing, or you don’t mind being spoiled on some things, then feel free to press on, and I’ll tell you about a group of probably well-meaning kids and their magical abilities, and the probably well-meaning forces that guide them.

We got rid of the spoiler-phobes, right? Okay, so the deal with Mayview is that it’s full of spirits. Some of them are ghosts, but some are other things. Some are malevolent, but many just float around doin’ their thing. Possibly the rest of the world is equally full of spirits; I haven’t gathered whether Mayview contains particularly many of them or if it’s just where the protagonist happens to be when he sees them for the first time.

Said protagonist is a boy named Max. His mom is dead, his dad is a goofball, and he just moved to a new town and discovered that he’s a special kind of person who can see and interact with spectral energy. Max serves as the reader’s viewpoint character; for the most part, we see what he sees and we usually only know as much as he knows. He’s the kind of kid many of us were, or wanted to be: somewhat snarky, sure of himself, and usually kind to others. Most of his interactions seem to take place with good faith on his part, as if he continually trusts that other people mean well, even when they say or do things that are patently ridiculous.

Minor ridiculousness is met with an appropriate level of snark.

And these people do a lot of ridiculous things! Paranatural is populated with larger-than-life characters, people who act out of accordance with all sense. Some of them are spectrals, but many are just people in Max’s life who have no connection with spirits (such as his aforementioned goofball dad).

I don’t think this is a case where “normal” means something different in the comic’s setting. Most of the minor characters seem to be various degrees of ordinary, not in a bland way but in a way where they’d probably fit into any given middle school environment without raising eyebrows. Those characters who are bombastic or otherwise off-kilter are met with skepticism and befuddlement on behalf of those around them. I get the impression that most people in the world of Paranatural have regular old lives just like people in the real world. Our story focuses on the unusual folks, because that’s a more interesting story to tell, and they do have a tendency to stand out from the crowd.

These people are weird, and everyone knows that they’re weird, but lots of them are also pretty loveable so it works out.

When I was a kid, I read a lot of fantasy stories, and the moral dilemmas were usually pretty simple. “Can I be sure this is a good person, or am I inadvertently helping the villain?” “Is it okay to help a villain in order to stop a worse villain?” “How can I be sure this good thing I’m doing isn’t going to cause more bad things to happen later on?” The issues were usually black and white, with only minor shades of grey thrown in.

Sometime in the past decade or so, I think the standard in fantasy has adjusted. It’s not so easy to tell who the “good guys” are anymore, and the hero usually has to think carefully about what information they give to whom and how to avoid being manipulated to an unjust end.

Part of me resents that change… mostly, I’ll admit, because I’m full of nostalgia for the stories that I breezed through as a kid, that never challenged my worldview or dared me to think from other moral angles, but which showed me wondrous and inviting worlds nonetheless. But there’s also the trouble that, when handled poorly, stories about moral codes and shifting loyalties are boring. A lot of the time I’m not interested in pledges of service or fealty or whatever, I just want to get to the part with the monsters.

Paranatural takes that sort of ethical hemming and hawing that can so often lose my interest and turns it into something compelling. The default assumption in this comic seems to be that people try to do good. Conflicts arise not because some people want to do evil, but because different people have different ideas about what doing good entails. As a result, characters often fall to distrust as a default state. A lot of the mysteries in the story are mostly the result of individuals carefully controlling information in an attempt to protect themselves or their goals. As a result, the reader, and many characters, are kept in the dark and have to rely on guesswork and patience to determine just what might be going on.

Paranatural is a comic that really uses being a comic to tell its story more effectively. Most of the time this is invisible… an effective panel or a well-composed page might not grab the reader’s attention while it communicates important information, heightens tension, or enforces the intended tone. But there are instances of using comics tools in novel ways, communicating information in a manner that wouldn’t be possible in another medium, or making jokes about the medium that these fictional characters inhabit.

One thing I want to be sure to mention is humor. Paranatural cracks me up on a regular basis, and the comedy really sells the story to me. Sure, the fantasy and intrigue are compelling on their own, but I wouldn’t come back to the story as eagerly as I do if it wasn’t so funny.

I deal with severe depression, and yesterday was a bad day for me. To the extent that it was hard to make myself get up and start re-reading Paranatural so that I’d be able to write this post. But once I started reading, I found myself laughing, and laughing, and by the time I’d read the whole thing I was actually in a really good mood. So apparently Paranatural is a pretty good treatment for depression, at least on a short-term basis. Use that information wisely.

Some things in Paranatural are humorous when I’m not even certain they’re intended to be. The spectral teacher is named Mr. Spender, and I don’t know whether that’s intended to be a silly name, but it really is a very silly name. It sounds like a user handle on a forum for shopaholics, not a real name that a person actually has. At one point he’s called Mr. Splendid as a joke, but to be terribly honest Splendid is not any less plausible a name than Spender. They’re both absurd!

Mostly, though, the funny things are clearly intended as jokes. Like the uniforms that some spectrals wear. They’re pajamas made to look like suits! Or suits shaped like pajamas, possibly. I’m not really sure where to draw that line.

so incongruous

There’s a lot of heavy plot and mystery here, but as a reader you don’t need to worry about following the minutia or figuring out what happens next. (Of course, you are welcome to do so if that’s something you enjoy!) On a page-to-page basis, the story is pretty easy to follow, though it does reward careful reading and re-reading. I absolutely notice new things when I go back and read the comic with an understanding of the setting and various character motivations. I expect that it will all seem that much richer as the story grows and I learn more about what’s going on with everyone. I clearly still know much less than what I don’t know.

The longer Paranatural goes on, the more complex and rewarding it feels. Whether you’re looking for a quick fun read, or want something you can ponder in depth, it’s got some fantastical good times in store for you.

Paranatural is written and drawn by Zack Morrison. Watch for mouseover text starting at this point, and wavering for a while before it becomes a more permanent fixture. On the chapter title pages (even for Chapter One) the mouseover text tells you what’s going to happen in that chapter! You know, how like old books would have chapter titles like “In which Max and his father order pizza and meet a burglar.” I’ll leave discovering whether that chapter description actually occurs in Paranatural as an exercise for the reader.

I can't stop giggling every time I look at this.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Entry 52: The Last Halloween

As I write this, Halloween is mere days away. Just a short period of time remains before we shall have to pack away our ghosts and goblins and push all thoughts of terror from our minds. This enchanted month will draw to a close, and lingering questions of mortality and the limited scope of human knowledge will have to wait until next year. So, whether you’ve been immersed in seasonally appropriate spookiness and are always on the lookout for more, or have been frightfully deprived and desperate for something to chill your bones before it is too late, I present for your consideration The Last Halloween.

What we have here is a fantasy horror story, complete with monsters and undead creatures of every kind imaginable. The world is ending, society is in chaos, and a 10-year-old girl is sent on a hero’s journey against her wishes. The Last Halloween takes this well-worn adventure framework and hangs upon it the author’s peculiar sensibilities. Thus we wind up with a story in which matters are deadly serious, but those involved refuse to take them seriously. Instead, they do things like make jokes about how the situation is literally deadly, get it?

This is dark comedy at its best; serious conflicts in a weighty story coupled with a wild and irreverent sense of humor. Rather than providing relief from the horror, the comedy serves to emphasize it. Inappropriate japes contrast so strongly to the grave atmosphere that the effect is remarkably unsettling. I often find myself reacting with exaggerated horror and outrage simply because the characters just aren’t bothered enough and I feel like I have to make up the difference.

The art in this comic perfectly reflects and enhances the atmosphere. Scenes are beautifully rendered in a way that is clear and appealing yet undeniably creepy. To be sure, there are monsters and mayhem everywhere, but one need only look at a forest, or the night sky, to tell exactly what the tone of the comic is. Every object communicates unease.

I can’t help recalling Stephen Gammel’s illustrations from Scary Stories to tell in the Dark. If you’ve read those books in the past, you know what I’m talking about. If not, you can get an idea with a simple Google Image search. Though distinct in style, those drawings also communicated a macabre and spooky tone with every brushstroke. However, while Gammel’s artwork emphasized horror, the art in The Last Halloween often mitigates horror.

I’ll note here that The Last Halloween is definitely best read in order from the beginning, and that while I’ll do my best to avoid spoiling anything, clever readers may be able to infer some details regarding the plot. I’ll also note that this comic contains some pretty horrific images, albeit rendered in a stylized fashion that robs them of their visceral punch. This is one way that The Last Halloween takes advantage of the comics medium. If the maulings and eviscerations in this comic were reproduced in film, or given detailed description in text, I’d find the content too off-putting to engage with it. The Last Halloween’s artwork takes events from which I would normally avert my eyes and presents them in such a manner that I can’t look away.

Speaking of taking advantage of the comics medium, let’s talk about monsters. (The term “monster,” when used in The Last Halloween, actually refers to only a specific type of creature, but I’m going to go ahead and use it in a broader sense for the purposes of this post.) Way back when I wrote about Spacetrawler, I discussed the diversity of alien designs used in that comic. The same principle applies to the monsters in The Last Halloween. There’s a tremendous amount of creativity in the way the shapes and movement of these monsters.

The stunning array of monster designs, combined with the delightfully expressive and compelling art style, make this a comic that I could stare at for hours. Like a particularly well-shot film, The Last Halloween is not so much a story expressed through art and more a story told in parallel to art, with many panels worthy of admiration even were they to be presented isolated from all context.

In terms of story, at the most basic level The Last Halloween follows well-trod ground (at least so far). What makes this version of the hero’s journey so appealing are the details. Characters express awareness of genre conventions, but tend to outright reject them. Everyone has a role to play, and they participate in the story not out of your typical good-guy desire to save humanity, but as a means to serve whatever immediate goal they’re trying to fulfil. The plot is almost incidental, something that just kind of happens while the characters run around in pursuit of their own petty desires.

The aimless antics stay fun, rather than tedious, in part thanks to the fun and quirky dialogue. This dialogue here is idiosyncratic and humorous in a way that reminds me of John Allison’s particular skill with words. Nobody in real life talks quite like the characters in The Last Halloween, and the real world is poorer for that fact.

The world of the story is well-developed, giving a definite impression that there’s more to the setting than just what we readers have been exposed to. Mona, the protagonist, comes from a clearly strange and messed-up family. We only see her dad for one page, but that page is enough to imply a history of outlandish and upsetting behavior. What’s not clear is how far this microcosm deviates from “normal” in The Last Halloween. The story begins with the development of a great catastrophe, so it’s difficult to establish a sense of baseline, but I get the impression that the setting as a whole was somewhat outlandish to begin with.

Of particular note is a character of a type that I’ve really never seen before, because she’s based on a stereotype that’s only been around for a few years: Shirley, the slacktivist. Fantasy has a long and storied history of use as metaphor for real-world social and political issues. While that’s not the focus of The Last Halloween, it’s definitely present, and Shirley is the reader’s gateway to social commentary.

There are tons of valid social justice concerns facing the supernatural community in The Last Halloween, and I find that sort of speculation fascinating. The concept of cultural appropriation as it applies to one’s identity as a ghoul is the sort of thing about which I would gladly read pseudo-academic essays. The Last Halloween crafts a world in which these are real issues, and Shirley tells us about some of them… but she doesn’t actually do anything to fix them. Though aware of social issues, and possessed of educated positions, she shows no inclination toward effecting change. Rather, she holds her political awareness smugly over those who haven’t done the same kind of research and arrived at the same conclusions that she has. Shirley serves as an excellent negative example for those who would like to do good in the world.

Where Shirley offers advice, maybe consider offering assistance?

I recommend reading The Last Halloween if you’re looking for something fun and spooky to wrap up your October. There’s depth there, too, if that’s appealing, but you don’t have to engage with this comic on anything other than the surface level to enjoy it. Monsters and mayhem are quite entertaining enough, though if you’d like to go further and think about symbolism and cultural trends you are quite welcome. The mere incongruity in many of the significant images could keep an analyst going for some time.

The Last Halloween is written and drawn by Abby Howard. It’s an engaging and frightening read, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing where this whole thing goes. (I’m guessing the ragtag bunch of misfits are going to save the world. I mean, I don’t know, maybe everything’s going to go down in flames, but I’ve read a lot of stories about people trying to stop the apocalypse, and they succeed at least, like, 90% of the time.)

By genre convention, the less qualified characters seem at first, the stronger they eventually become. So we're in pretty good shape!
Previous Entry: Everything by Emily Carroll

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Webcomics Worth Wreading, Entry 51: Everything by Emily Carroll

October is upon us. It is the month of ghost stories, when we frighten one another and remind ourselves of all that is unsettlingly beyond our understanding. Each year around this time, when I search for suitable material to chill my soul, my thoughts turn to one cartoonist in particular: Emily Carroll.

Rather than putting up individual installments of a single ongoing work, Carroll tends to present one complete short form comic at a time. These are self-contained stories, often several pages long, suitable for reading in one sitting, possibly alone at night while rain thrashes against your window panes and lighting sheds eerie light on the world outside.

Her work is haunting, not because it often features ghosts, but because it endures in the mind. I’ve never read a comic of hers that didn’t stay with me, popping up in my mind unexpectedly and (typically) reminding me of the horrors that lurk just past the edge of consciousness. These aren’t the kind of scary stories you tell by the campfire, causing a temporary feeling of fear that fades into surprise or relief. These are the kind of scary stories that slowly, subtly fill you with dread, becoming gradually more unsettling until they’ve eased you from a mildly ominous beginning to a truly horrific conclusion.

This is the kind of horror that creeps under your skin and stays there.

Normally I don’t talk much about what scares me, because to be honest there aren’t a lot of horror works that I find scary. While I can certainly enjoy a good horror story, and a few movies and books have been known to keep me awake at night, the vast majority of horror stories don’t frighten me at all. If I enjoy them it’s more likely because I’m intrigued than scared, and though I can empathize with characters who are in frightening situations, that doesn’t usually extend to being frightened just because they are.

When I wrote about Broodhollow, I didn’t really touch on that comic as horror, because as much as I love it, Broodhollow doesn’t really scare me. It’s hard to discuss the ways that something is scary when I’m not actually scared by it.

Emily Carroll is the rare example of an artist who can make me scared. There are definitely things to appreciate about her comics besides the fear element, so if her type of horror doesn’t get to you the way it gets to me, there’s still plenty of reason to read them. Within her body of work you’ll find compelling, imaginative vignettes that delve into dark and suppressed elements of the human psyche. Being scared is not a requirement for enjoyment.

I just think it’s cool that I found something that scares me and I want to tell everybody!

Not all of Carroll’s comics have the same feel to them, or are even accurately described as “horror.” While taken as a whole the effect is overwhelmingly spooky, these comics are versatile, with different art styles and tones depending on the requirements of the story.

Even the formats of the comics vary depending on what’s needed. The panels may be aligned vertically, or horizontally, or even using a combination to direct the flow of action along a specific path. Multiple stories use narrative tools that only work using the medium of the Internet. When reading The Three Snake Leaves, you get to make a choice about whose perspective the second half of the story is told from.

Margot’s Room gets even more inventive, asking the reader to click on various objects in the eponymous room to see different parts of the story. It’s up to you to figure out the order and make sure you read the whole story, and though figuring it out isn’t a challenge, it still feels like putting together a puzzle, and getting from the beginning to the end provides a definite feeling of accomplishment, and more importantly, of completion.

The Three Snake Leaves, by the way, is an adaptation of one of Grimm’s fairy tales. If you’re a fan of those fairy tales, like I am, then Emily Carroll’s comics are perfect for you. Her sensibilities as a storyteller are perfectly aligned with the atmosphere one expects from those dark and classic stories.

Sometimes, I’ve found it hard to tell whether a particular comic is an adaptation of an existing fairy tale or a new story that Emily Carroll came up with on her own. Fairy tales work so well in her style, and her writing so evokes the feeling of old fairy tales, that often either option is possible. At times I’ve been surprised to find that the reason I’ve never heard a particular story before is because Emily Carroll made it up. The surprise isn’t that she could invent such ideas on her own, but that she could do so while making them seem so familiar, like they’re as integral a part of human storytelling as Cinderella’s stepsister having her toes cut off.

I wouldn’t recommend this work to the squeamish. The art is beautiful, but often grotesque, and at times there are acts of terrible violence. The blood and gore are not used as an artistic end unto themselves; every instance of violence is necessary for the story being told. Rather than shocking the audience into a reaction with violent imagery, an Emily Carroll comic will build an atmosphere of suspense, wherein a violent conclusion is the only reasonable outcome. If you cover your eyes during scary parts of movies, then sadly Carroll’s stuff might not be for you. But if you like being scared, and think you can handle anything, I encourage you to dive right in.

“But where to begin?” You might ask.

Well, there’s no bad starting point. None of the stories are too long, so you don’t need to worry about getting bogged down in a drawn-out narrative. If you’re on the fence, Out of Skin might give you a good sense for what Carroll’s work tends to be like. If you enjoy that one, there’s a strong chance you’ll enjoy the rest of them. I’m kind of perversely fond of The Prince & The Sea, while His Face All Red is the first one that I ever read, and it made a lasting impression on me.

Really, though, there’s no need to read in any particular order, or even to feel like you must read everything Carroll has to offer. Each story is self-contained, and most require only a few minutes to read through, though I strongly suggest taking your time, lingering on the artwork and savoring the experience.

A type of comic I haven’t yet discussed is Carroll’s dream journal. I love the idea of representing dreams in comics so much I’m kind of jealous I didn’t think of it first. (I did photographs, instead.) This isn’t the only place I’ve seen dreams as comics, either, but every time someone does something of the sort I think it’s super cool. Dreams are a great source of imagery, and they present ideas that aren’t bound by linear conscious thinking. Carroll basically says so in the introduction to her dream journal: “I'd recommend it too, if you don't already record your dreams -- I've mined a lot of ideas and images from mine, and it's a good source of, er, things a Waking You might not have thought of.”

Dreams are so much fun, and I love it when other people see that and give me a glimpse of what their dreams are like.

I highly recommend all the comics that Emily Carroll has on offer. Each and every one of them is extraordinary. Any time Carroll puts up a new comic I’m eager to see what she’s done this time, and I hope you will be too.

And if you’re looking for a way to get into the Halloween spirit this year, I can think of no better way than by huddling before your computer screen, in a darkened room, and discovering one of Emily Carroll’s distinctive tales of terror.

Previous Entry: Athena Wheatley