This? You think this is the bottom?
Owen Gieni and Ryan K. Lindsay have got a weird one for us. Imagine a world run by people like in The Truman Show, add some mega-emotional/telepathic power juju (a la Mood Slime in Ghostbusters II), dash in a corporate a**bag dropping bad vibes on peeps and feelin’ a lot like Gary Oldman in The Fifth Element, simmer on low in a braise of Louis C.K.-style, quasi-philosophical humor of self-depreciation, and serve with a good ol’ kick to the frontal lobe. That’s where I am reading the first issue of this new Dark Horse series, and I kind of like it.
We meet a writer who’s decided to shuffle off this mortal coil to Buffalo, but in trying to write his suicide note gets writer’s block. This is a sensationally and darkly funny spin for a wacky and . . . well, dark kind of book. There’s very little in the way of exposition, leaving us wondering what the hell is going on every two or three pages, but in a very good and forwarding kind of way. It’s the kind of mystery that feels like it might be a loose jumble of causality (like that of certain adult films before the sax kicks in) but will, ultimately, satisfy because the journey was worth it. (Yeah, for that, too.) Lindsay seems to be a disturbed human, and I hope he forgoes help in order to continue tossing his damage onto the pages. There are about 300 questions I want answers to in this world, and all of them only make me want more.
Owen Gieni has a fun, fluid style. A little reminiscent of Ren and Stimpy crossed with character designs that feel like Rocko’s Modern Life. (Okay, I’m using SO much pop culture in this review, but these are all things I like and I can’t figure out any other way to describe it, so just go with me.) I am absolutely in love with the lumpy potato man who is our protagonist, and I think the delicate expressions that Lindsay coaxes out of that doughy face are exquisite in execution. I, too, am a larger guy, and this human version of Baymax is so charmingly delightful. He seems out of place and the center of the world all at once, and Lindsay has a great talent to assist in the dry humor present in Lindsay’s script.
If you like even a third of the comparison shows or memes I’ve dropped here so far, you owe it to yourself to check this new series out. It’s the kind of ride you don’t bother buckling up for, just enjoy ’till your mind melts into the goos. Enjoy the goos.
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*Negative Space #1 will be released in July. Be sure to pre-order your copy at your local comic book shop by Monday, June 15.