Pop Comic Review – Remember

‘A psychedelic meditation set in the geometric thoughtscapes of Wanderweird’s art, in which the nature of reality is revealed.’

Written/art by: Wanderweird

Published by: Wanderweird

Released: 5 April 2017

from Wanderweird

I usually mention the cover of things hooking me in, but in this case it was the preview pages. Remember was apparently written and drawn on a soul-searching backpacking journey across the USA, though it doesn’t look it – this isn’t some scribbled travel journal, it’s full pages of lush colour and detail with the words seamlessly entwined through the shapes. It looked, in a word, lovely.

I’ll say it straight up, this is like a drug trip. Not an insane Lone Sloane style assault on the senses, more a marijuana-fuelled examination of the base concepts of our reality. The rich hand-drawn and -coloured artwork with integrated text continues through the whole comic, with liberal use of the rainbow spectrum, repeating patterns, symmetry, and natural fractal-like style in places; it’s a treat for the eyes. I love that integrated text technique I mentioned too – obviously it draws the eye into the picture, but also makes you slow down in areas to follow it, and gives the whole thing a very organic feel. Visuals that might otherwise feel disconnected from the philosophical musings as an attempt to portray the abstract now feel like one whole. While the artist is probably most well known for his drawings and paintings about video games, the same kind of style (both the artwork and the meditative subject) is seen in his other work. Wanderweird is a professional artist so it’s not surprising the art is clean, but it does take experience and vision to meld abstract concept to visuals this well. If this had been published in the 60’s it would have been considered a cultural manifesto and become a cult classic.

from Wanderweird

I’ll bet as soon as you saw ‘soul-searching’ and ‘more [like] a marijuana-fueled examination’ you thought “hippie alert!!”, and you wouldn’t be wrong from the impression I got. The interesting look at human perceptions of reality takes a turn to the evils of capitalism near the end (of the whole ‘modern society has us drugged into compliance’ kind), but while the topic has its own distinct artwork, it artistically flows with the whole without detracting much from what I considered the more interesting topics, and is basically in keeping with the hippie ideals that go hand-in-hand with the rest of it. When I compare the subject matter to hippie ideals (it’s not an insult; the hippie movement was an important western cultural movement that still has a lot of influence today), and the subject matter is going to be familiar to anyone who knows a pot-head who’s sure they’ve discovered the meaning of life once they’re high, I don’t mistake the ideas Wanderweird is trying to convey to the reader for a meandering ramble – it couldn’t be, with every word carefully drawn in – but an erudite essay.

There’s one thing that makes this interesting reading right now though, and it’s American Gods, because I kept thinking of it while reading this. I’ve only seen a handful of promo shots for the upcoming show, but I have read the eponymous book it’s based on by Neil Gaiman, and if the show’s any good it’s going to have some that same ‘re-examine your assumptions about how you experience reality’ feeling both the book and Remember has right down to its roots in travelling across a varied and multicultural country. It’s the similar feel most thought-provoking science fiction and fantasy works are able to convey, to make you look at the world a bit differently afterwards. I’m certain the comparison wasn’t intended – like I said, this comic is more about the soul-searching of someone who’s a hippie at heart, and the ideas discussed are in no way new – but it was an interesting comparison nonetheless.

So who would I recommend this to? Hippies young and old, of course. This is right up your alley! I reckon those of a philosophical bent may enjoy it too, though it depends on your philosophy. It is an interesting work on its own for that. However everything I said about its relation to the basis of deep sci-fi and fantasy means I would probably recommend it as a sort of companion piece to what makes these fields so interesting; that the ways in which we both physically and conceptually experience reality are complex and amazing.

Thanks to Comixology.com for supplying ‘Remember’ for review.

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