It took me several weeks to obtain a copy of Negative Space # 1 to review as I prefer to review comics in print. It was sold out at every local shop but was available online. After reading it I now understand why. This comic is game-changing. This comic will change lives. I mean that. *Spoiler Alert*
The story starts with an American Indian writer named Guy Harris who is struggling with writer’s block. However, this isn’t just any story that he is attempting to pen. He is writing his suicide note. Guy decides to go for an evening stroll to try to calm his mind. He isn’t trying to talk himself out of taking his own life. Rather he is looking for the words to express his feelings to those he will leave behind.
He goes to order from a local coffee truck ran by his friend Woody. He gets his coffee and Woody can sense something is wrong. Woody reminds him that writing is like living and that he should try to live a little. Ironic because Woody doesn’t know he is writing his final goodbyes. He suggests that Guy should forget what he is writing and just write something for him instead.
This is where the comic takes an unexpected turn. We are introduced to a guy named Rick who works at Kindred Tower. Kindred is a Monster’s Inc. kind of a company. Instead of turning screams into power, they harvest human emotion in order to feed it to a creature known as an Evorah in order to keep it from overtaking the entirety of the human race.
Rick and his team manipulate, fabricate, and orchestrate all the bad happenings in the world. They need people to have bad days so that they can reap those raw feelings and appease these beasts. It turns out that Guy isn’t just an ordinary writer. He is one of the rare once in a lifetime greats whose words affect millions. Rick and his team are determined to make his suicide note the last manuscript he will ever compose. They believe that Guy’s death and accompanying missive will stimulate a mass of melancholy that will place them over their quota and placate the creature.
The next several pages see Rick and his team turn up the heat on Guy as they go all out to make sure he goes over the edge and cements his self-destruction. The way that Guy responds to this barrage of baneful acts makes his humanity shine through in an otherwise bleak period of his life. This is what speaks to the reader. We have all been there. We have all had a season in our span of existence that we thought we wouldn’t survive. Obstacles we thought we couldn’t overcome. We have all ran the gambit of emotions that we see these gimmicks impart to Guy.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a certain character that Guy encounters on a dock. Call it an intuition but I think that this isn’t the last we will see of her. Guy then goes back to talk to Woody once again. They have a conversation about their fears and worries and seem to share a moment when Woody reveals his as well. Woody advises him to embrace the unknown and Guy takes this to heart and tells Woody that he has decided to write something for him right then. Woody then informs Guy that he has to leave but will be right back.
Guy is sitting there alone writing for Woody and he ponders how he can create so many worlds in his novels yet somehow seems to demolish the world around him. As he waits for Woody to return he starts to think that maybe it is just the world around him that is breaking him down. Guy, unlike the reader, has no idea how spot on this statement really is. Guy is despondent that Woody hasn’t returned and leaves. The reader then gets a glimpse of the note he penned for his pal, and lets just say it is breathtaking and heartbreaking. It adds another dimension to this already diverse character and gives the reader some insight as to what kinds of weight he has been bearing.
Guy then goes to the cinema to view “500 Days of Summer” which is eye opening and allegorical if you have ever seen the real life film. The allusion to this film has many implications and serves to further our understanding of the mindset of Guy. Guy like many of us uses the arts as an escape, a way to relax and unwind from the strain of our everyday lives. Upon exiting the theater he finally finds the words that have been eluding him for sometime. He then walks to Woody’s house while reflecting on some of his experiences in life. What he finds at Woody’s house is worse than anything Guy could have ever imagined or dreamt up.
The term negative space means: the space around an object that defines it. I have to say that is an apt name for this title. The space, the world around him, has tried to define Guy in one way or another. That, and his world is literally changed around him to elicit a particular response from him. I could ramble on about nature v. nurture and other psychological and sociological references that this conjures up. Many works of art make a social statement and if you are paying attention this one is making a profound protestation about problems that plague people in modern times.
This comic has some sci-fi creature feature elements, suspense, creepy occurrences, and some horror added in but that is not what makes this a horror comic. What makes this title truly terrifying is that it touches on what troubles so many of us with honest depictions of real life problems. Many of us share similar experiences to Guy. We live in a world that tries to define us, tear us down and devour us.
We may not have an Evorah that is lurking and waiting for the right moment to rise up and end us but we do have something in our lives that is. It is different for each of us. It could be alcoholism, drug abuse, mental illness, hatred, social stigmas, etc.
What I want you to take away from this review is that we all have greatness inside of us. We may not be the world’s next great author like Guy, but whatever it is that makes you unique; showcase it. Don’t be afraid to face the unknowns. Embrace it, live a little.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, there are people who care about you. There is a reason to keep on living. Please, if you need help or someone to talk to call 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or click here. I know from experience as I have lost a loved one due to suicide and the world is a lesser place without him.
This stereotype shattering comic is wonderfully written by Ryan K. Lindsay. The awe-inspiring art is by Owen Gieni, who also did the cover. The lettering is elegantly done by Ryan Ferrier. This issue came out on July 8th, 2015 with the next issue set to drop on August 26th. I recommend this comic and have already placed it on my pull list. You can learn more about it at Dark Horse Comics.