BROKENLAND, ISSUE #1
Creator: Drew Morrison
WHAT IS IT?
A silent tale about Meeso, a strange little creature in a big world full of 'em – and a whole lot of trash.
Think an indie comix-style heroic journey to find oneself in an uncaring urban landscape that's slowly being crushed under the boot of rampant consumerism.
Except it's cute!
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Meeso's trying to make their way in the world and do a bit of good at the same time. Meeso is an odd little thing surrounded by a lot of odd little things.
Meeso is a bit hapless, but the moments of connection are touching in a sea of literal garbage. Their journey to try and find what matters meets with many challenges along the way. And, it's probably only going to get weirder in subsequent issues.
The concept. Morrison tackles a lot of heavy topics in this comic, but does so in a relatable and digestible way by introducing Meeso and their optimism as a lens into an overwhelming landscape. City narratives are compelling, as they allow us a vehicle to grapple with ego identification in an overstimulated place. What do you do when everyone's the star of their own story? Well, you could salvage some doughnuts from the trash and try to make friends, for starters.
The world. It's actual garbage! Meeso and the residents of the city wade through it, eat it, sort it, navigate it and exist in strange harmony with it, like most city dwellers. However, where we turn a blind eye, trash is the fulcrum of Meeso's world. It's inescapable and intimidating but not always sinister, especially through Meeso's eyes, and is often a way for Meeso to try to connect with others. It adds texture, color and vibrance to the backgrounds. It's ugly and beautiful at once.
The cartooning. Morrison's taken a page out of a few of the finer grotesque and absurd cartoonists' playbooks, but has a honed style that's unique and sophisticated. Morrison understands how good cartooning works: how to pick significant details to exaggerate, how to populate a world, how to use perspective to situate Meeso in their larger world and draw our eye to the smaller moments that matter. And, most importantly, how to spotlight personality traits by choosing appropriate creatures for appropriate roles!
The layouts. Morrison goes small and regimented for Meeso's perspective early on and slices the journey from home to work into regular, bite-sized vignettes. It's tempting to do away with all structure in absurdist tales, but keeping the panel structure familiar does the story a big service. Later on, Morrison starts to experiment with movement and layouts as Meeso journeys down a garbage chute, and the break with previous layouts means more because it's an exception, and done in the right place, at the right time.
The colors. A comic with this much texture and background detail needs to be in color, and Morrison wisely chooses a broad palette to help enhance Meeso's overwhelming experience. There's no blur or ease of dismissal. Everything's picked out with care.
Last, but not least: Meeso! Meeso is a weird little marshmallow/tofu block hybrid of a gentle soul, and aside from wanting to squeeze them to death, they're also engaging, friendly, fearful and authentic. Meeso is the little bubble of hope in all of us that's calcified by our defense mechanisms, but the character avoids saccharine status.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
Nothing, but the absurdity might not work for someone who's looking for a less abstract storyline. I'd strongly encourage anyone who's hesitating to give it a try, however, because Morrison balances accessibility and authenticity.
Never read a silent comic before? Good. Now's the time to start.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Because Morrison understands how to tell a touching, engaging, funny and weird story for all ages.
Because Meeso is the delicate little trash child who lives in all of us, and we must defend them with our lives.
Because we could all stand to reckon with the trash we create.
Because we could all use a little yearning, hope and optimism in the miasmic horror of everyday life, city-dweller or not. It takes courage to be tender right now, and skill to balance that tenderness with a dose of reality. Brokenland achieves this fine balance with a ton of imagination, visual interest, and sequential flair. I'm more than onboard for the next issue.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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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 Brokenland characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Drew Morrison or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED