What does it take to get a person to crack open a book (or comic book) and give it a try? Is it something you’ll know you’ll like, something that looks weird, or does it simply hit at the right time of day when you’re ready for something new? I take a look at a mind trip of a comic book originally published back in August 2014 and ponder as I read, “is this creator insane?”
Orbiter’s Prism (Neoglyphic Media)
The weirdness and genius of this book originated from the brain of writer and artist Drew Miller. You know you’re reading something special when you contemplate who this person is in real life and what he might do to you if you ever met them in the wilderness. The comic is actually easy to follow for how weird it is, but it does challenge the reader by using some unconventional type and word bubbles. Before we get ahead of ourselves though, what on Earth is this book about? The synopsis reads thusly,
Mr. Fergeson creates 2-D tools for expanding consciousness. One day, while overseeing the manufacture of his newest portfolio of creations at his factory, something strange begins to happen within Fergeson’s own mind. A new client is trying to commission a tool from him and he is determined to connect the dots.
The comic is up front with why there’s black blocking text.
From the first page we’re told by our protagonist that he cannot speak in a straight line. Miller is letting us know the black, redacted-like blocks are there to break up the narration. The entire comic is narrated by the character as he explains his predicament, but it’s here where the story dictates its pace and flow. As the character goes through his transformation the text becomes more wild and unruly and eventually because so messy it’s illegible. This is on purpose, and it works wonderfully at getting you inside the character’s head. The breaks Miller uses to stop sentences and then start them again makes your reading of the words disjointed and almost troubled. You effectively think like the protagonist as you read like he might think. It’s a wonderful way to pull the reader in.
The story is fascinating and becomes more loopy, weird and unconventional as the story progresses. I get the feeling there’s a conspiracy afoot and more than once I was getting some heavy vibes similar to the equally weird novel Valis by Philip K. Dick. As the character goes through this mind trip of a transformation the reader does too, which makes the story all the more interesting.
As the character’s body transforms, the art becomes more wily too, transforming the character into some kind of Picasso smear. Since we’re inside the character’s head throughout we never lose grasp of his predicament nor lose interest. You never lose track of the humanity of the character, nor does the story become confusing. This weird change in him is relatable because of the strong inner monologue and you’ll become ever more interested as you turn the pages.
A nice sense of humor too.
Something should be said about the art as well, which uses a wide range of materials, from charcoal to markers and what I think are oils. It’s a rich use of colors and methods that combine very much into something you might see in a contemporary art museum. The unconventional nature of the art propels it a bit more into the weird, which only heightens the strange story and character.
One of the reasons I enjoyed this comic so much was my personal peference for psychological thrillers and stories that get inside characters’ heads. This story does that incredibly well, but for those of you don’t necessarily go gaga for such stories you might be a bit turned off. The story never leaves this character’s narration and his talk about his transformation, so don’t expect a plot that takes him anywhere. Of course it’s also very odd and strange which might turn some off as well, but considering the cover is incredibly weird to begin with, why would you even pick such a book up?!
So like puberty then?
Welcome to one of the weirdest Twilight Zone episodes ever made complete with great storytelling mechanics and wildly weird art. You can purchase this comic at neoglyphicmedia.com.