Fearscape 1 is Intoxicating in its Alle-glory
This read belongs on the bookshelf of every writer. Fearscape 1 enters into the mind of a writer from the very first set of simplistic unillustrated panels. Instantly, you will smile at the stereotypical setup that feels like it could be written about you, yourself. If you are not a writer at heart, reading this will take directly into the maze we wander around daily.
I am a publicist, muse, and writer in my roles and reading this, I feel so damn connected to it. Every character presented in this story speaks to our attempts as creators to be original and the fears and criticisms one faces. It speaks to the fear you have as a writer that your work is garbage. That you are derivative. You see the thoughts of others and query their truths. Other times, holding your head high in a vain attempt to ignore. When you read Fearscape, there is not an unfamiliar thought that is presented. It is the most honest comic I have ever read.
From the stance of the publicist and reviewer, it has you look deeply and question yourself, your motives and how you treat your writers. All this is done while making you laugh at yourself. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that truly. There’s this impact that has the reader both scrunch their noses and cringe at the realities and how they are presented. If you’ve any self-awareness as any of the above roles, read this and you will know exactly what I am saying.
The scene is set with Henry encountering an agent meant to assist him with publishing at the bequest of what appears to be a mentor. All is not well with this agent though as he resents assisting Henry and lets him know exactly how he feels about him as a writer. This sends Henry into an internal monologue that sets the stage for the majority of the first issue of this series. In spite of the fact, much of the issue is Henry inside his own head, the dialogue is spectacular.
As a creator, I am very solitary in my thoughts. They reel me in and I get lost in a whirlwind of questions. It’s a deep, dark rabbit hole and I dive right in. Only after I have exhausted every possible thought, each scenario and possible outcome do I come back out and that is just what Henry does in this issue. He is lost. This is where it all gets a bit murky for me though and I lose just a bit of connection with our protagonist–but just a bit.
Henry is a plagiarist. Lifting A. Proctors (so very tongue in cheek) most recent manuscript, Henry seeks to improve and create something of “his own”. He feels his mentor would not have left it out otherwise. It would seem that all is not quite as it seems in this story, however. This is where it gets mystical.
In a turn of direction, the reader is pulled from Henry’s internal monologue and thrust into a fantastical verse called The Fearscape. The Muse is a guide that transports writers to this magical place where human fears exist as a reality. Reality and The Fearscape exist and intertwine, influencing one another. The Muse attends the site of A. Proctors latest manuscript intending on bringing A. Proctor to The Fearscape and mistakenly finds Henry. He, of course, does not correct her and takes Proctors place accompanying The Muse.
Ghosts of previous generations of great literary minds decide the new Champions worthiness. If Henry can overcome his fears, if the ghosts of great literary minds deem him worthy of their approval, his story might just be amazing. Well, the story he has taken from Proctor will be. The Fearscape, The Muse, and these ghosts will ensure it.
I have yet to determine the full depth of this issue if I am honest. I suspect I will read it several more times. We end it with a non-traditional cliffhanger and the feeling that something great is happening and our actual author, Ryan O’Sullivan has hit every note and with the perfect pitch here. From tongue in cheek references to classicist language and his breaking of the fourth wall, the writing is superb.
There is a variety of characters presented that do not see much time up front yet somehow stick with you. Whether you are a reviewer/ critic, writer or publicist, I feel this is an essential read.
The diluted colours within the pages were exactly what they needed to be for this story. There is the feeling of a watercolour painting at times with just the right amount of detail provided. With a story like this, you need some realism peppered with covered faces, via lettering, shadowing or just not drawn in. This provides just enough room for the reader to choose what emotion they themselves will pull from a scene. It’s very effective when paired with the writing.
Fearscape is the truth of the publishing world. Please create something original but also stick with something proven to sell. Be creative but colour inside of our lines. It is complicated and difficult as a newer writer to understand just how to do these things and I think what has captured me most about this series is how intimate it feels.
Release Date: September 26th, 2018
Cover A (Ariela Kristantina) – JUL182286
Cover B (Andrea Mutti) – JUL182285
If Fearscape is not at least nominated for an Eisner, I will be shocked. I have never seen so many layers delivered with such ease, let alone in a first issue. I cannot wait to see what the rest of this series offers.