Thursday, December 04, 2008

Spotlight Review: Masks #1

Masks #1
Publisher: Septagon Studios
Creator: Aaron Rintoul

A Quote from the Masks website at Septagon Studios:

"Just wanted to introduce myself, my name is Aaron Rintoul , I am the artist and writer of the new Septagon Studios miniseries "Masks".

Masks began as an exercise in sequential storytelling using only visuals, mainly photography and digital painting . When I decided to actually letter Masks I felt the writing needed to be just as unique as its visual style. What I came up with was more of a graphic poem than a graphic novel. On the surface "Masks" is a dark psychological thriller that follows a girl named Sara who's thoughts and memories are not always her own. Masks is a non linear story and is meant to be left open to interpretation, so I won't elaborate and spoil that aspect of it. My intention with Masks was to make something highly original that I had never seen done in comics before and a book the reader would want to open up more than just once. Hope you enjoy it!"

I wanted to start with that quote from the creator because I think he describes the book perfectly and my description my not do the book justice.

Rarely I have read and seen something from an unknown (to me) artist that so effectively moves me and evokes so many emotions. The images are at once beautiful, evocative and haunting. The books works on a visceral level and as you are reading it you start to slow down to take in the full effect the art and words are having on you.

I would call the book impressionistic, but that maybe making it sound a little too highbrow and intellectually snobbery, and the book is not over your head, it is just not a straight story.

The deeper you get into the book the more you start to feel that you know the main character and at the same time realize you don’t know the character as she has been searching for an identity of her own. How can we know, someone who does not even know themselves?

There are a few moments when the art seems to weaken a little bit and the story line almost gets too be a little too straight forward, but that is only in comparing those pages to other pages which are absolutely works of art.

There are times when the images are very reminiscent of Dave McKean’s work from Sandman covers and then there are times when you are not sure where the picture ends and the painting begins. There are scenes that are very disturbing from violence against this girl, to apparent self inflicted violence against herself. After reading this book I was left with the indelible impression that I had experienced a work of art that bordered on a beautiful physiological horror. Not a normal combination I grant you, but this is not your normal graphic story.

Mask ultimately lives up to its name as both the reader and the central character are challenged to determine what is real, what is not real and for us both to think about when we wear masks and when we are who we truly are.

I think trying to do this type of story is one of the hardest things to do in a graphic novel form. You either overreach or come across as too artsy or you can come across as someone trying to be that intellectual artist/poet and failing badly and only looking foolish.

For me Masks threaded the needle and comes across as a fantastic effort that beats a large percentage of the printed books on the stands and is a testament to the talent of the creator Aaron Rintoul.

Okay I saved the best for last; this is a free download at Wowio. You can get the book here FREE and then let me know what you think.

GRADE A – Well worth it and you can’t beat the price.

No comments:

Post a Comment