Pop Comic Review – Tales from the Interface #1

‘In limitless fantasy, what is the value of a simple thing? A mysterious green man launches himself into a quest. Within minutes he’s attacked by an army of crabs led by none other than KING KRAB.
Science-fiction/fantasy story following in the footsteps of the great masters of psychedelic sci-fi of the 70s.’

Written/art by: Emmanuel Filteau

Publisher: Inkorpora Zines

Release date: 20th April 2017

from Inkorpora Zines

I love the fantasy/sci-fi-ish cover of this; underground caves and some strange prehistoric looking plated creatures watching promises some cool settings and exploration. And mentioning a psychedelic 70’s comic inspiration? Pretty cool.

The interesting settings are delivered as promised – with no dialogue until the end, the settings and other artwork tell the story completely. Wild colours, dynamic linework, and a profusion of shading lines help establish that 1970’s feel, and while that makes it sound like it might be a confusing mess, I was pleased with how clear the action and emotions are while reading. Filteau seems to have a very adaptable style to what he’s working on, so the decision to lean into the older art influence is deliberate. In fact, the influence is so strong I was surprised to find out at the end that the artwork had been done digitally since it looks so much like the old hand-drawn type. This lines up with the comic itself since (as you may have picked up from the hint in the title) you discover there’s more to the amazing adventures first depicted than you think. I think the style would have benefited from more weird background details – I love weird details, like the fight against King Krab involving an actual crown on the monstrous monarch crustacean. It makes up for it in other places however, as throughout the story the changes of scene are sudden and dramatic, making opportunity for a lot of different cool sceneries and adding to the ‘psychedelic’ feel of being pulled along without really knowing what’s happening (don’t worry, all is explained at the end).

none of them are as glorious as King Krab, for they have no crowns

from Inkorpora Zines

When the story is told just visually, everything the characters might be saying has to be communicated through body language and their interaction with their environment. Filteau does it well, with characters glaring, smiling, set in grim determination, and curiously poking at stuff. The wild surroundings and contrasting scene changes obviously help keep the pace up where too much silent exploration would cause it to drag. It’s a strange feeling when it’s a good thing that the reader is kept confused by the lack of exposition about what’s going on and why, and what the main character’s apparent goal is, but the intent is clearly for you to just go with the flow and hope it makes sense eventually (as I mentioned, it does) or at least be in for a wild ride. It’s not something that can be done for a long story without some kind of specific plot elements introduced to prop it up, and I think Tales from the Interface keeps it short enough to pay off, since this one had a firm ending too. If it’s an ongoing series (I’ve found that a number in the title isn’t always an indicator of that) I’m guessing each issue will probably be its own self-contained short within the same universe. Or this one’s lack of dialogue is just an outlier. Either way it’s sadly unlikely King Krab and his adorable crown will appear again.

Heads up for some nudity and sexual references at the end; it’s a little disappointing that the visible sexuality is focused on a female character when the 70’s influence could have seen both her and the male lead sharing the glory of the sexual gaze *wink wink*. There’s also a short extra included at the end of this edition where Filteau explains how the pages are planned and built up – I find that kind of thing interesting, though I don’t know about most readers.

Grab it for something different or a flashback feeling, though don’t expect your brain to be taxed. It’s a fun, colourful ride and has weird bugs, which is good enough for me.

Thanks to Comixology.com for providing this issue of Tales from the Interface for review.

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