Astghik Poghosyan ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
If you have an appetite for the mysteriously grotesque and the inappropriately amusing, then Owen Gieni and Ryan K Lindsay’s intriguing concoction Negative Space is right up your alley. It follows the story of Guy, a writer suffering from writer’s block even when it comes to his own suicide note. Stumbling over his words, scratching out and rewriting, he takes a trip to a nearby hipster coffee van where his friend Woody tries to cheer him up with a triple shot of heaven. It’s a powerful introduction that slams into the readers’ curiosity and has them flipping through the pages insistently. The successful highlight is how the theme of suicide is dealt with since there are a million ways in which it could have turned into a giant unethical mess. Instead, it brandishes its own risqué charm and fuses that with the difficulty of creativity-on-demand. It later delves and develops into a tangled mess of evil parasitic multi-corporations that feed on human misery and draws the curtains with alien dissection in HAZMAT suits.
All in all, Negative Space is Alien meets The Truman Show and vomits a macabre love child. What really sets the story apart is its unique art style. A mixture of sketchy lines for a sketchy story worked best and embodied the story’s dark themes. The characters were diverse not only in regards of their ethnic background, but also in regards of their general physiology. This factor by itself turned the comic from the general shelf warmer to an artwork on its own. While reading, one can’t help but appreciate the watercolor spreads: a background that’s just as captivating as the plot.
While the story is on a good start with an impactful introduction it fails when it comes to gender representation. Like the Avengers, The Losers and, devastatingly, multiple other examples, it’s presented its readers with only one “token-woman” character in the span of twenty-three pages. The “negative space” in its title might as well be referring to the blank spaces where women could have easily been.
Having said that, the comic seems to be going for a mixed and convoluted plot regarding alien life forces, and while we’re all a grand appreciator of extra-terrestrial internal organs, it has the danger of becoming doomed repetition of too many twists in too little space instead of elaborating on already existing gems.
All in all, it’s a good start with a few bumps in between but definitely captivating enough for a second issue pick up.
Negative Space is published by Dark Horse. The first 32-page issue will hit the shelves on July 8th for the price of $3.99. Take a sneak peak of the first issue below: