May 7, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 802: Daughters of Knights #1, 2017

http://withoutatitle.com/


The last of my individual comics from the con today. Everything else is a graphic novel. I had a lovely chat with Mr. Rosia at the con about comics and community. He's a proponent of Panel One, a loose conglomerate of local comics creators who share resources and support in order to produce wonderful art. They've got a festival coming up on June 3, if you happen to be in the Calgary area.

Today's comic is the first of five parts, and I'm intrigued by the story thus far. A medieval setting, accusations of witchcraft, and a final 6 pages that are definitely amongst the creepiest I've seen in comics in a long while. I'm going to focus on these last pages today, because they gave me a rather Lovecraftian vibe. The story tells of a young woman with a facial deformity who is accused of witchcraft, but blames the deaths for which she's held accountable on a demon. It's unclear whether or not the demon is real, even in the last pages where things definitely seem to take a turn for the supernatural.

What's Lovecraftian, at least to me, about this section is that though the art definitely depicts particular images, the precise things that are happening, especially on the last page, are not shown in full - we're left to use our imaginations to really get a sense of what's going on, and we all, I think, know that what we imagine is always going to be worse than reality. I'm not kidding when I say that this sequence creeped me out. But what's interesting to me is that while the story can definitely be read literally, there's something about it that also speaks to me metaphorically. What kinds of demons might someone with this kind of deformity harbour within them, especially given the treatment she's likely to have undergone in a relatively unenlightened time? Was it an actual demon that was responsible for the crimes she's committed, or something more subtle? I suppose, in the end, the answer is that it is a demon - where it comes from matters little.

One other thing I quite liked about the comic is that, even though she's been taken captive, Seraphine, our focal character, refuses to take any shit from her captors. Couple this with a mysterious other lady that watches the caravan cart Seraphine away, and I think we've got the potential for a couple of strong female leads in this comic. In the wake of Marvel's recent blame of falling sales on diversity, this is a very, very important thing for us to bear in mind.

I'm hoping there'll be a second issue out by the time the Panel One Festival rolls around, but if not, Mr. Rosia has a few other works out that I'll be very, very happy to pick up.

To be continued.

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