I came across this on the year’s best round up over at Comics Alliance. It’s a two-part comic written and illustrated by Sam Alden that’s freely available via Study Group (a site I hadn’t encountered before but which seems to be as full of riches as a temple ripe for the plundering).
First of all, you should definitely just go and read it now (link above). It takes all of 5 minutes.
- The artwork is rather beautiful. The lines are simple and clean. The ragged hunter protagonist is practically monochrome, while the world he moves through is as bright and psychedelic as a tie-dyed t-shirt.
- There’s a hint of the post-apocalyptic about it, which I love. The bow and arrow wielding hunter finds a cache containing a gun and a phone (both discarded as useless).
- The antagonist is similar to Hyperion‘s Shrike. Relentless, implacable, incomprehensible, spiky.
- The temple design, the otherworldliness of it, reminded me of Shadow of the Colossus. It has a similar sense of eerie trespassing, of things ancient and forbidden.
- That said, it also reminded me of Zelda — a resourceful young man armed with a bow exploring a mysterious temple. I guess it depends on your perspective. The site of action is brooding, ancient, solemn, and unknowable. The action (and actor) is optimistic, surgent, and curious.
- The rhythm of reading is like nothing I’ve ever encountered. There’s no dialogue. The panels are rigid and ordered, but each moment is given ample room to breath (there’s a particularly beautiful section where the hunter lies comatose as the day passes and the light gradually changes). Progress is entirely linear, and you find yourself scrolling, scrolling, the colours and narrative washing over you.
- The story ends on a magnificently unsettling moment of body horror.
Very good stuff.