(This is my column over at Comic Addicts, if you’re into that sort of thing, head on over!)
Welcome back to a new year everyone! We here at Comic Addicts are so happy that we can ring in the new year with our brand-spanking new website and all of you amazing readers who have followed us and encouraged us to keep doing this. This past year has been a real roller-coaster for the comic industry and we plan to keep covering it to the best of our abilities – more importantly however, we’ve decided to try and bring you a greater range of things to sample and enjoy. There are so many amazing talents and areas out there today – possibly more than there ever have been at a single time – and we want to help them reach the audience and for YOU, the audience, to get a chance to see what all is out there that might be missed in the torrent of comics every week.
When I first came across Jason Brubaker‘s website, he had only produces a few chapters. But now, it’s been launched as a beautifully bound hard-bound Graphic Novel that is already flying off shelves (both real and online) and has won numerous awards even prior to printing, including the 2010 Xeric Grant Award for dedicated independent creators and was voted in the Top 10 Graphic Novels of 2011 by The Star Tribune
How often do you come across something by chance and find it to be not just surprisingly good but also brilliant in it’s own way? Personally I find some of the most interesting things are not sought out but found – that said, I can’t speak for everyone, but it definitely was the case with what I’m reviewing here.
Late in 2011, I was looking for new web-comics to see what was of interest and stumbled upon an unassuming one written and drawn by Jason Brubaker called reMIND. The premise was pretty simple:
All Sonja wanted was to find her missing cat, Victuals, but when he washes up on the shore of her sleepy coastal town several days later with a head full of stitches and the startling ability to speak and no memory of how he got that way her quiet life is forever changed. Together they set out to solve the mystery of his disappearance, embarking on a journey that leads to a strange kingdom under the waves and into the heart of a royal power struggle, where the answer to Victuals true identity could save or doom them all!
Definitely not something that’s trying to cash in on a current craze (a.k.a zombies, vampires, gore, gritty-dark gunk, etc) as is a slippery slope for all entertainment mediums, not just comics.
That’s what drew me into it at first.
But then I started reading the backlog that had come before my discovery of it – a blessing I think – and I was not just loving it, I was undeniably hooked. Period.
I decided on $3,000 because it seemed like the maximum that you could get for a comic, plus at the time I didn’t have that big of a following online. I really wanted $7,000 to cover the rest of the printing but I figured that any money would be better than no money, so I set the goal lower than what I needed to get a better chance at actually getting funded … To my surprise I passed my goal in less than two days. It blew everyone’s mind how fast it grew and Kickstarter even posted it on their front page due to its speed. It was my first real solid clue at just how many dedicated fans “reMIND” was attracting. It’s one thing to get hits on a website. It’s a whole new thing when hundreds of people that you don’t know are pledging money toward a project that’s still almost a year away from completion.
– Jason Brubaker talking about the kickstarter campaign for reMIND with comicbookresources.com in April 2011
We follow the adventure of Sonia the lighthouse keeper in the strange little town that was built around the legend of “Lizard Men” and the strange, unexplainable bubbles that constantly show on the waters surface as she has to face this strange new world that the cynic and scientist in her always chose not to believe in – despite her father being the one that started it all. When her cat, Victuals (pronounced “vittles”), disappears and then comes back with a bigger brain and the ability to walk and talk like anyone else, Sonia’s world is turned on its head.
I’m not going to give away any more because that would just ruin it for newcomers to the series – but there is something amazing about the work of this talented creator I had never known before. In Sonia and Victuals, he creates characters that are new and unique, yet feel so familiar and their world is a mystery to be solved but never feels daunting or too surreal. Brubaker is a graphic artist, designer and animator and has been one for years, recently working with Dreamworks on projects like Kung Fu Panda 2. He’s even story-boarded movies including the first two Blade movies and even Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigilo. Talk about range and experience.
I know, I know, it doesn’t necessarily mean he can write a great comic or graphic novel. But if you give it a chance, you’ll see how he’s used his experience and brought a beautiful artistic sensibility to this independent creation. His story-telling is light and has the wonder of a child, but also shows a mature sensibility which is I feel a very hard balance to be working with and he does so quite deftly. His artwork is stellar and really stands out from most with fantastic compositions, excellent usage of blacks and a choice of gorgeous colours that work so perfectly with the somewhat surreal story unfolding before us.
This book is recommended to ANYONE with a love of great story-telling and art. If you’re hesitant to buy, go HERE to the site and read it for free online – and if like me you end up wanting to own a copy, go for it. Mine just arrived a couple of days ago (signed and all) making for a great christmas present to myself and I’m not too shameless to gloat about it being a signed copy with this lovely doodle to accompany it as shown here.
Personally I’m a bit proponent of not just tossing money down the creative drain for familiar titles just because, we as readers should expand our horizons and support more creative and worthy projects and talents and it’s with that in mind that I did this review and am restarting my Wayfarer column – to bring you the best of what often gets overlooked or not looked at enough in the face of the never-ending-juggernautish-crisispocalypsegeddon-crossover-event floods that are mainstream comics. Don’t get me wrong, I read a lot of the mainstream stuff, but only so long as it’s good and never exclusively.
Till next time folks, I hope you enjoyed this and I sincerely hope you enjoy reMIND as much as I did.
My rating, a resounding: 10 / 10
Cheers and a very happy new year to you all!
Still limitedly available online at amazon.com for $49.90