Plays, comic books, web comics . . . I have had the distinct pleasure to review a plethora of incredible material by extremely talented creators of various artistic mediums during my time at Fanboy Comics; however, the focus of my most recent review left a lasting impression that will be quite difficult to surpass.
In a unique transmedia collaboration, writer Jorge Armenteros, illustrator Liselott Johnsson, and composer/musician Sarah Wallin Huff have created a startling and heartrending project by way of The Book of I. Telling the story of a painter struggling with schizophrenia, the story explores the fragmentation of human nature through the distorted lens of its main character. The reader is meant to question whether the individuals in the painter’s life are real or imagined, leaving lasting queries as to the nature of identity and humanity. What makes The Book of I so groundbreaking is the experience provided to the reader by way of a variety of storytelling platforms: classic text; stunning illustrations; and a soundtrack that serves as an emotional and psychological response to the novel. By weaving each of these singularly spectacular modes of media into a cohesive narrative, the reader is offered the chance to step into the world of the painter, seeing his perspective while questioning their own.
While each element of The Book of I is to be commended for its artistic merit and complementary role in the collaboration, the soundtrack composed by Sarah Wallin Huff stands out as both a powerful album, taking its listener on an emotional journey of beauty, despair, and hope, as well as a fascinating study of the composer’s visceral and intellectual connection to the source material. Featuring the stellar work of musicians Darrell Peries, Caleb Barnes, Cathy Alonzo, Jenna Ford, Lainey Elizabeth White, Brett Bird, Jonatas Mostacato,Ayla Draper, and Huff herself, the album is a stunning collection of gorgeous, orchestral selections comprised mostly of string instruments that are, at times, vividly haunting but always entirely engrossing. Huff, who previously released her own album, Soul of the Machine, earlier this year, clearly has a passion and a gift for sharing every ounce of her mind, body, and soul with the listener, as if providing a warm invitation for the listener to share the same in response.
Audiences looking for a daring, new adventure in storytelling that challenges them emotionally and psychologically, leaving them with thought-provoking questions and conversations should without a doubt experience The Book of I. Published and distributed through Jaded Ibis Press, each component (i.e., the novel, illustrations, and album) of the collaboration is available as a package or individually. Available online through the Jaded Ibis website, The Book of I is being released today, and I highly recommend this incredible project to Fanboy Comics readers.