Sorry for the delay, internet at The Gravy Cave North hasn’t been cooperative lately, among other things. Let’s check out a comic!
Writer: Caleb Thusat
Art/Letters: Katrina Kunstmann
Published by Village Comics
After the tragic loss of his family, Jake wants to die. Unfortunately for him, (though fortunately for some other people) he can’t. He is lost, questioning the meaning of why he is still here, what purpose it could possibly serve. He does die, more than once in the issue, and each time he comes back, just moments before his death, and things are just a little bit different. Different enough, that it almost leads to some doubt for the reader, and Jake himself, if it’s even happening at all. Maybe in this haze of depression and guilt, he is imagining himself doing good, being a hero, to make sense of why he is here. Except something happens at the end that is a surprise to him, something is missing. His reliability as a narrator is still questionable though.
The book is a quick read, but there is a lot to unpack afterward. How is he coming back back? Is he even coming back? Why do we put so much stock into art, fictional worlds and other realities to escape our own? If you survive an unimaginable tragedy, why did you? Does that mean you are still here for a reason? What reason? Do you waste this chance, letting the guilt and shame consume you? Or do you try to make a difference?
Thusat’s story is fascinating, giving the reader enough of a look at Jake to see that before the initial accident, he was wasting his potential, and why he carries so much guilt in the present day. Mention must also be made of the art and colors by Katrina Kunstmann, the almost sketchy art and somewhat rough colors work perfectly for the book, adding to the feel of an almost dreamlike story. Especially in the afterlife, where there is a disturbing, tree of souls or something. (Tree Of Souls is my new stoner metal band)
Alter-Life is available from Village Comics on their website, coming soon to ComiXology and in January will be launching a Kickstarter for the collected edition of all 170 pages. Check it out.