Friday, 27 November 2009

MuZz (volume 1)

Is this the start of a beautiful Friday review slot? No idea.
But it’s a friday again, college commitments have meant I’ve actually managed to not draw much random unrelated stuff this week, and there are other drawing filled books which I’ve read and enjoyed, so, permanent position or no, here we are again.
There was a period in my life a few years ago where I had ambitions to be a comic book nerd, I like pictures, stories, and have a particular leaning towards science fiction, so it seemed a good move for me. Well, sprawling and impenetrable as the comic book world is, I never quite made it, but I did pick up a few interesting things along the way. One of these was the work of illustrator Foo Swee Chin (or FsC), who, when I first found my way to her work, was illustrating a comic called “Nightmares and Fairytales” for Slave Labor Graphics (possibly better known as “the people who published Johnny the Homicidal Maniac”). The comic was... ok, but what drew me in to reading it and kept me there were the drawings, ostensibly “manga” in style, they were also surreal, energetic, elegant, and like any good drawing, seemingly effortlessly executed.
FsC left “Nightmares and Fairytales” after the first two series, and thus so did I, and it was a while before I spotted her work again. Firstly, in the form of a small number of self penned “one shot” comics published by Neko Press, and subsequently in MuZz.

MuZz, is an, as yet, incomplete comic series, and a confusing one. The basic plot follows a character called “Farllee”, who we first meet when she awakens, disorientated and with no idea of her own identity, or history, on a train. The train, we learn, is headed for the city of “MuZz” the place all imagined personalities go when the people who imagine them die. I won’t delve too deep in to the plot, other to say Farllee stands out as peculiar even among the bizarre array of half formed creatures that make up those around her, and this makes their trip to MuZz a very turbulent one, and their subsequent arrival cause a great deal more trouble, as the residents, and leaders, of the city try and figure out who, and indeed what, Farllee is. The book hangs it narrative around the framework of dreams and wondering imaginations, so utter chaos is par of the course. Is it good? Hard to say really, being so far only volume one of, I don’t know how many. But, what it definitely is, is beautiful. You’re reading someone's imagination in full flow, and it’s a vast imagination, every image is wonderfully conceived and designed, and there are enough ideas featured to form the groundwork of several books. I can’t admit to having gone back and reread the text since I purchased it, but I can barely pass it on the shelf without picking it up and revisiting the images.
I wouldn’t suggest MuZz to anyone interested in a narrative, but for lovers of imagery I can’t recommend looking into the work of Foo Swee Chin highly enough myself, and MuZz is her work in its most undiluted form.

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