Writer: Luke Wehner
Illustrator: Enrico Orlandi
Letterer: Reed Hinckley-Barnes
Cover: Val Halvorson
WHAT IS IT?
A series about dead cats, the end of the world, and dealing with grief in the 21st century when everyone is constantly shouting.
It’s Scott Pilgrim meets Twin Peaks. A pop-art exploding impression of Twitter and the 24-hour news cycle.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Tobe is a young boy with a sick cat in a town where strange things have been happening since a portal appeared in the sky. Rival political parties argue about what the portal is and what their future holds while trolls joke about it via mobile messages.
When Tobe accidentally runs over a cat with his bike, he ends up facing a whole new challenge when he becomes inhabited by a malevolent spirit. This is only made the more complicated when it transpires that the arch-nemesis of this spirit is the same spirit that his mother complained about hearing in her head. Tobe has to deal with the craziness without and within, here's hoping he can stay sane doing it.
As you can tell by the brief description above, there is a lot in here, but it’s told with a bravura confidence that keeps everything trucking along. The story is manic because the world is manic and that remains consistent throughout, which is a testament to Luke Wehner.
Enrico Orlando’s art is beautiful and suits the story perfectly. Large, expressive faces for expressing large ideas. Cartoonish choices in some of the characters heighten the absurdity of what they’re saying.
When there’s so much going on both in terms of the writing and the art, the lettering from Reed Hinckley-Barnes manages to convey a lot with a little. Inspired little choices in speech bubbles keeps everything moving along in a way that doesn’t confuse the reader.
It captures the modern world perfectly in its absurdity. It very much comes across as a world that is based on the loudest expressions of modern identity. The book shouts at you…
...and that makes it all the harder when the book quietens down and you learn more about the situation that Tobe and his family face. It is hard to be sad when the world is so loud, and that's something that any reader can relate to.
The jokes land, which is something that isn’t always true in books. The stupid jokes of the trolls are obviously bad but that’s what makes them funny. The absurdity of every panel and every page feeds into the anarchic spirit that fuels all the humour.
The story moves at a good pace and turns in unexpected ways, going in with as little knowledge as possible is recommended.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
Tobe exists almost entirely as a passive observer, he has very little agency within the story. The setup of needing to get bottles to help his cat functions well, but beyond that, the world happens to him.
It’s hard to follow a lot of the politics, which I assume is the point, but if it’s going to be a consistent part of the book then it could become a little repetitive and something readers might scan over.
So far, the tonal shifts have worked but they become weaker over the course of the two issues. When you oscillate wildly between anarchy and somber, it can become discombobulating to the reader.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
When we meet Tobe, it’s seeing him reading troll-like reactions to an apparent assassination of a political figure. When he tries to join in and it falls completely flat, the ensuing awkwardness is crushing and speaks directly to the reader about who Tobe is and where he fits into this world.
The anarchic spirit that fuels every page manages to stay cohesive and not be off-putting, which can be a tough line to walk. It never tries to do too much or lose focus on what is important. It's a refreshing and funny take on the modern world and how difficult it can be to live in it. Even when it's at its most absurd or wild, you never feel lost and you're always having a good time whether you're waiting for the next joke or for the story to reveal itself a little bit more. It's a great ride.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
Click one of these:
The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.
All Luke Wehner, Enrico Orlandi characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Luke Wehner, Enrico Orlandi or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED