Staff: Kelly Matten and Waker farrell
I got a contact high from this hit AND miss comic.
So I’ve got an interesting indie comic to review today. It’s called “Trip” and I was warned that it’s written from a female perspective, alternating authors depending on perspective, and features extensive drug use. So, let’s drop some acid and trip into Trip!
So the art is really hit or miss. Some panels it is spot on and sometimes it looks like it was rushed. When it is good, it’s a very interesting stylized approach that lends itself to the tone and theme of the comic quite well. And since there are two artists on this, I feel like I should point out that it is not one artist who is worse than the other. It is more a few rough patches scattered throughout the comic (example: Page 3 and the top right part of page 4 as compared to page 7 or 7). Sometimes the navigation from panel to panel is a little odd and hard to follow.
The lettering was a bit off at some point. The font wasn’t quite sharp enough to give a reader a totally legible experience. An example of this is on page 4 of the comic. A character says, “There’s the liquor; gotta get out of myself”, but the r gets lots and it appears to read, “There’s the liquon”. It also gets a little small sometimes and the resolution on the comic prevents a reader from zooming in to really get much of an improvement. We lose the edge of dialogue balloons due to an inconsistency in whether they have a stroke around them or not . In addition, there are a few capitalization errors and minor grammar errors, but all and all it’s a good effort.
The dialogue is riddled with a lot of slang terms that the uninitiated might find jarring. Occasional linguistic drifts occur and almost seem to hang in the hair for a while. However, it fits with the trippy “burner” vibe that one of the characters exudes. That is to say, it is hard to read but that’s intentional as far as I can tell. There is a lot for the reader to identify with. We’ve all had a party where you got dragged along and just want to go because but can’t because someone else is having a good time. Plotwise I get a kind of Alice in Wonderland vibe. Like complete with the trippy imagery and invitations to a bizarre drug trip. In fact, if I had to pick a single word to describe this comic, it’s “trippy” (I guess that they picked the right title, eh?).
Now let me get to the meat of this comic. About page 12 we get our big jumping off point. This is one of the best representations of a drug trip I’ve seen translated to a visual medium. While the artist are far from professional level- they push themselves and come up with some amazing visuals. Every time we get tossed into that trippy world, everything is dripping with creativity. If the entire comic had this level of visual creativity- it would be a vast improvement. Now since comics are not exclusively a visual medium, we have some great dialogue that firsts perfectly with the visuals. The onomatopoeias used are fantastic and fit the vibe perfectly (check out page 28).
The subject matter touches on a very touchy subject in our society. It explores the reaction to psychedelic drugs in a positive light and uses it as a tool for discovery of the characters. I think it’s effectively done and is pretty risky gamble. It could have easily fell apart and been a bad trip (pardon the pun) but they save it from the fire. One thing I enjoyed was the realistic and holistic approach that the authors use to build the relationship between the two protagonists characters.
The plot, unlike your typical run-of-the-mill indie comic, isn’t concerned with progressing some bloated over the top “epic” story. It’s about two women finding themselves and reflecting on their life. While there is plot progression near the end, that’s not the point. This is a comic focused on character development and exploration of themes over telling a linear story per se. This might turn readers off to it, but I thought it was a successful application of comics as a medium.
Overall, I like the creative intention behind the comic but I was a bit disappointed at the rocky execution. Sometimes this was Grade-A indie comic but other times some sporadic rough spots cause a jarring disconnect. It’s certainly one I’ll recommend you read. It has a brave and creative take on a taboo subject matter despite its pitfalls.