Writer: Matt Mair Lowery
Publisher: Self-Published (Zoop)
WHAT IS IT?
An anthology of short comics based in an abstract sci-fi world.
Think Promethea meets Black Mirror.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
The corporation LifeTech has discovered the 5th dimension, known as the ThoughtScape, where every idea ever conceived physically exists. You, yes you, the reader, have the distinct privilege of joining LifeTech’s Record + Render DIVision where the stories of the ThoughtScape have been captured and reconstructed.
This current R+RD report of the ThoughtScape contains four comics ranging from 6-11 pages in a variety of art styles and storytelling. While they range from abstract to terrifying, all of these stories focus on exploring larger ideas with a science-fiction aesthetic. LifeTech also brandishes its many services and upcoming titles in between each selection.
Mair Lowry’s dialogue is wonderfully diverse, at times being poetic and thought-provoking, while sometimes being crass and direct, always balancing the style against the story in question to tremendous effect.
A stunning assortment of linework is present in this book. Different styles such as Law’s smooth and faded work or Naffzinger’s thick-lined, Samnee-esque characters provide an incredible amount of clarity to the story.
This book is a delight of color and each artist’s choices excellently define the mood of their story.
Each artist also demonstrates that they are talented letterers, directing the eyes wonderfully through their art and pacing even the most text-heavy sections well.
This collection is a great display of different, effective comic layouts. Whether it be the more traditional boxes of Cannon’s A Spy Without A Face or the experimental paneling of Slominski’s Ex Post Facto, each exemplifies the tone and perfectly paces the story.
Overall, this anthology is organized well and has a good balance between short and long stories, and abstract and concrete.
In between stories are flyers and ads from the ThoughtScape universe that add some fun, immersive worldbuilding. One of the flyers features a QR code that leads to additional content online, which is incredibly creative.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK
Content Warning: Some of the stories contain depictions of graphic violence, which could be a turn-off to readers sensitive to that.
The lettering is hard to read in a few instances due to font choice and size.
Some of the stories’ plots are difficult to parse on a first read, making it difficult for some first-time readers to feel they are ready to move onto the next one.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
ThoughtScape Comics takes a simple framing device and magnificently wields it to create an immersive, diverse experience. While each story is distinct from another, the reader feels like there is a larger narrative happening as well that begs them to come back to future issues and gain a few more pieces of the puzzle. Beyond that, each installment in this issue is wonderful, taking the best pieces from science fiction and comics and making something unique. The structure of the anthology shows a keen eye for maintaining a reader’s interest.
Visually, the book is gorgeous and the art comes together with the concept seamlessly. What results is something that feels like it could only come from this book despite this being the first issue. The kaleidoscope of colors and stunning linework establish immediately what kinds of stories readers can expect within the ThoughtScape.
For any lovers of high concept science fiction and masterful comics craft, this book is a must-read.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Lifeformed by Matt Mair Lowery & Cassie Anderson
Drones by Matt Mair Lowery & Tyrell Cannon
Sentient by Jeff Lemire & Gabriel Hernandez Walta
If you like the art:
The Space Odditorium by Chris Calzia & Dave Law
Minus by Lisa Naffziger
Eris by Tyrell Cannon & Logan Cannon
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Matt Mair Lowery (@mattmlpdx) – Writer/Letterer
A relative newcomer to comics, Mair Lowery also writes Lifeformed for Scout Comics.
He notes Matt Wagner's Grendel, Miller and Gibbons Martha Washington, and Dark Horse's first Aliens series among his biggest influences as well as classic sci-fi films.
Mair Lowery studied journalism and creative writing at the University of Oregon.
Dave Law (@itsdavelaw) – Artist/Letterer
Law is also the artist for the space-opera series The Space Odditorium, cyberpunk horror comic Wolf Punks as well as multiple anthologies.
He also has a Master’s in Business from San Jose State University.
Tyrell Cannon (@tcannoncomics) – Artist
Primarily in the indie sphere, Cannon has penned multiple short comics but is most known for his series Eris with his brother Logan.
He is also a cover artist, crafting works for Dark Horse, Image, and Heavy Metal comics.
Cannon edits the science fiction romance anthology Speculative Relationships.
Lisa Naffziger (@lisanaffziger) – Artist/Letterer
Naffziger made her comics debut in 2015 with Life’s Questions Answered in 2015.
She’s also an illustrator for children’s books including Ozzie the Courageous Otter.
Naffziger studied Sequential Art at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Karl Slominski (@karlslominski) – Artist/Letterer
A rising talent, Slominski has done work for DC, IDW, Scout, and Z2 comics.
He is most known for his creator-owned graphic novella Teeter Topple.
Slominski is a graduate of the Kubert School of Cartooning and Graphic Art.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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 ThoughtScape Comics characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright of Matt Mair Lowry or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.