I Think That I Am Finally Coming Home
I have a thing for narrative. Would much rather, if push came to shove, read a great comic story with stick figure art (I’m thinking Matt Feazell) than read a terrible story with wonderful art. But more and more I find myself enjoying the sort of works where narrative is either secondary or something that relies upon the reader to extract meaning from the imagery.
Case in point. Bethan Mure’s comic is a mere 20 pages long and mostly silent, the only words the musings into the void from an astronaut floating alone (or at least that’s what we think at first).
It’s over in an instant, the story reads so fast, so little going on. Or at least that’s on first impression.
But step back, slow down, look carefully, glean the extra meaning, absorb the art, float into the ideas just as the astronaut floats so simply across the backdrop of blue-grey inkiness or sandy light colours dominating the background, never explained, just as the tendrils of strange circuitry like lines we see are never explained. Then it becomes something far more involved, far deeper.
And should you look deeper, when you do analyse the pages, a story forms, one of connection and isolation, of hope, of a lone astronaut who may, or may not, find salvation at the end of his tethering line.
Gravity this is not. It’s more attuned to 2001: A Space Odyssey. Albeit shorter. And prettier.
The sketchy, loose pencils and crayon effects are reminiscent in some ways of Shaun Tan, each page a mass of line, all rather gorgeous. Each page has something new, something different, the astronaut usually the static piece on the page, colours and crayon picking out other parts, implying motion and action, just as the astronaut speaks to us of watching, observing.
Look at the face there, filling the page. Just a simple thing when you look at it first, a few lines, eyes, eyebrows, the nose, yet look more and, just as with the story, the ideas, the art expresses so much, every line hammering home the confusion and loss this poor man feels, lost out here in the void.
This is a comic to take any and every meaning you can from. That it rewards the reader/viewer with multiple viewpoints, multiple possibilities, multiple inklings as to what is unfolding is a credit to Mure’s storytelling and ideas.
As an extra, from Mure’s website, here’s another comic: The Orb…