Writer/Artist: Vincent Romero Gladnick
Publisher: Bulgilhan Press
WHAT IS IT?
A surreal character drama about one's quest to find themself post-transition, blending dreamlike visuals and intense self-reflection.
Threshold is a blend of the harsh deconstruction of self, present in the original finale of Evangelion and the optimistic messaging of It's a Wonderful Life.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
After transitioning, Jay is having an identity crisis. Caught between the expectations of their past life and the uncertainly of their future, Jay wakes up one night in a dreamlike place with an ever-changing environment to sort out their thoughts. It's not long before they're followed by a mysterious hooded figure with a special fixation on Jay. No matter where Jay goes, the questions that plague them and the hooded person are never far behind.
What will Jay find out about themselves at the end of their journey? Are they ready to take the first step with their newfound identity? And why is the hooded person following Jay?
Gladnick performs the herculean task of writing, illustrating, coloring, and lettering everything themself. That Gladnick is able to tackle all of these respective disciplines allows for a story executed precisely the way they intended.
Gladnick's writing is methodical, and the dialogue is minimal with the narration being the main driver of the story. Fortunately, their narration is more than suited for the task, providing biting self-reflection that captivates just as much as the artwork.
The artwork on display from Gladnick is magnificent, fully committing to the dreamlike state Jay is in and giving us numerous inventive sequences that heighten the emotions of any given moment.
The use of spot colors stand out wonderfully against the black and white pages, serving as a fitting visual complement for the conclusion of Jay's journey.
Gladnick's lettering has a handwritten quality to it, particularly with the narrations, which give the lines a more personal touch with some lines even blending into a given background for additional creativity.
Threshold invites its reader to linger on every page not only to appreciate the artwork and Jay's character arc, but to reflect on their own life. Those willing to slow down are treated to a wonderful, existential story.
There are several remarkable page transitions in this story that deserve special praise, with instances of shattered glass changing into snowfall or the moon reflecting from a cat's eye turning into a pebble falling into a lake. Gladnick moves us from location to location with ease.
While Threshold is an unflinching look at the struggle one can experience post-transition, the ending is optimistic. The story's themes of self-forgiveness and forging your own path are powerful messages that can strike a chord with anyone.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
Content Warning: This story contains a character's deadname, along with brief nudity.
This comic is predominantly in black and white. If that is not your preferred art style, keep that in mind when giving this a try.
Minor Spoiler: Threshold's ending leaves the reader wondering how long the gap was between Jay and Marco's first and final encounter.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Threshold is a stunning artistic achievement, immersing the reader into a deeply personal narrative that's brutally honest without falling into cynicism. Gladnick pours their heart onto the page, with their breathtaking artwork and introspective narration to capture the story of a person struggling to find themselves in a world that's hellbent on labeling us.
Threshold stands alongside the likes of Daytripper and Ghosts of the Carousel as a must-read for fans of intimate storytelling.
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 Bulgilhan Press characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Vincent Romero Gladnick, 2021 or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED