I was originally going to write about Farel Dalrymple’s THE WRENCHIES graphic novel this week, but I realized it doesn’t actually come out until September, so I’ll save those notes. (Seriously, I’m looking forward to writing about that.) But I’d already blown my deadline, and have otherwise been rather busy lately, so what was I to write about?
Enter New Worlds Comics. I was cold-tweeted the other day by the publisher’s founder and lead writer, Guy Hasson, to ask if I’d be interested in reviewing some of their comics. I’d not heard of the relatively new publisher or either of their young, digital-only titles, GOOF and WYNTER. I requested review copies from Hasson, who promptly sent me the first two issues of WYNTER, a story set in a distant future where genetic diversity is irrelevant, as so many humans exist across a galactic civilization that every possible iteration of human DNA has been assembled thousands of times over.
In WYNTER, all human gene expression appears to be understood and stored in a vast database that can calculate and predict human behavior based on the way prior individuals with identical DNA lived their lives. Add to that the brain-embedded Google glass-like technology that every person seems to be equipped with, and the world around 17-year-old Liz Wynter seems to lack any mystery. With every move she makes, her inner Siri snidely remarks that hundreds of thousands of people who had her DNA made the exact same move.
Like most teenagers, Liz longs to be an individual, to break out of the pattern, to be unpredictable. But when thousands of iterations of Liz have already had that same thought, it’s all that much harder. And her inner Siri makes sure she knows it. But there’s something more sinister afoot in these first two issues. Liz and a friend discover a new “app” that allows them to pilfer other apps from passers-by. The snatched apps do various rather innocuous things, from offering a look at nearby citizens sans-clothing using stock footage and some genetic assumptions, to seemingly more important things, such as the macguffin “Subversive” app, which allows Liz and her friend Shane to view all dissident individuals in the galaxy and view simulations of their future movements.
Perhaps a little predictably, a future in which individuality is wiped out is governed by a monolithic galactic organization that discourages individualism and uses the culture’s ubiquitous technology and genetic profiling to root out and destroy dissidents. And Liz ends up right in the middle of it.
The series is young, with only 2 issues available at the moment. But there’s mad potential here, as Hasson clearly grows more confident with dialog by the second issue. And artist Aron Elekes digital painting on the series is loose and fluid and a little murky, which really brings home the dreamlike atmosphere of this distant-future tale. In the first few sequences, Elekes seems to be trying a little to hard to break out of the traditional paneling rhythm of a comic book, but by the time I finished issue #1, I had no problem following his lines. The cross-panel illustration style works well for a lot of scenes where movement and pacing are key, and I found myself lingering over Elekes faces and figures long after it was time to turn the page.
I’m a sucker for sci-fi, and far-future stories are a particular favorite of mine, so it’s no surprise that WYNTER works for me. I love that we live in a world where comics like this can be created completely outside of the mainstream, and I hope the book finds an audience. A printed collection of this story would look rather handsome, too, I must say.
Read more about New Worlds Comics: http://newworldscomics.com/