Outright Geekery’s series of posts highlighting the very best of the year that was 2014 continues with the comic books that pulled of a whole lot with very little. It’s easy to pull off epic stories in titles that span dozens of issues and years of building, but doing that in less than a dozen books takes some real talent, and the impact on the reader is as relatively great as the number of comic pages is relatively small. Here’s my top comic book limited series of 2014. Continue reading Gaumer’s Top Comic Book Limited Series of 2014
The annual Will Eisner Comic Book Industry Awards were handed out. First, the winners, and then some comments. Winners are in bold.
Trillium Issue 1-4 of 8
Written by: Jeff Lemire
Art by: Jeff Lemire
One of my favorite aspects of comic book storytelling is the sheer range of different types of stories that permeate comic shop shelves. While I overly enjoy reading my weekly intake of capes and tights it’s so nice to have a cornucopia of divergent comic books to choose from on any given Wednesday. We wouldn’t see such diversity on comic store shelves if it wasn’t for the flexibility of the Independent Press and the independent nature of big-time publishers’ imprint brands, like DC’s Vertigo Comics, as well as the imaginative expertise of indie comic creators. One example of this diversity is the science-fiction story Trillium by Jeff Lemire.
Trillium revolves around a duo of strangers; one a researcher from the far-flung future of the year 3797, and the other an explorer from the year 1921; two seemingly linked pyramids each with its own tribe of native savages but separated by thousands of years and billions of miles, and a white, three-petaled plant. Weird enough for ya? Would it make it any weirder if I told you that Trillium, at its core, is a love story? The solid sci-fi foundation Lemire builds in Trillium supports an underlying, yet rewarding love story, while the artistic and design style are uniquely the creator’s.
The story Jeff Lemire is weaving is brilliant, with fierce use of sci-fi elements, and intriguing threads of plot positioned nicely. The two main characters are intensely engaging as we are given subtle hints at their individual backstories, with even more subtle similarities in those backstories made relevant as the story progresses. The tone of “similarity” continues as both the setting in the far-flung future and the setting in 1921 seem more and more intertwined and connected despite years and light-years separating the two. The lead characters also become more intertwined as a bond is created between them. The common thread in all of these links and bonds? That white, three-petaled plant, Trillium. The future is depicted well as a place of desperation as Earth is gone and humanity is all but wiped out, with this little white plant’s importance stressed above all else. The true mystery behind this plant, however, is kept unspoiled, yet the story does not falter because of it. The story takes outrageous twists and turns throughout its first half, keeping the reader engrossed, but the true appeal of the story is the evolving love story between the two lead characters, although, this love story really isn’t one yet. The love story has only been hinted and alluded to, but the sheer power of the art and the emotion on the characters’ faces simply radiates love, which is a refreshing approach to telling a graphic story. As good as the art is at telling the story and illustrating emotion, Trillium’s design choices are equally compelling and significant. Issue #1 is a flip-book style comic, and reads from both directions; one story for each of the leads; with this unique design choice is repeated in later issues as the reader must turn the book upside to read certain pages. This not only helps establish the linked duality of the characters, but also helps to set the mood from page to page as the story takes its unpredictable twists and turns. I’m not sure I have ever read a story that utilizes such stylized design in page placement and design, that was also as well-written and intriguing as Trillium is overall.
There’s just not much bad at all in this series so far. Some of the sci-fi elements may be a bit too weird for some more traditional comic book readers, and the one-of-a-kind design choices may throw off both long-time and new fans. The art, while overly excellent, is typical Jeff Lemire and is not a traditional comic book style, which may put off readers. While there’s still a large veil of mystery surrounding how the future became the place it is, Trillium is certainly taking full advantage of the stereotypical “dystopian future” quality that way too many sci-fi stories use, making it feel a bit cheap. The overall use of mystery throughout the story, however, helps to lessen those pangs.
Trillium is definitely not for everyone, but it’s a terrific book nonetheless. There’s lots of stuff that can turn off would-be readers: Jeff Lemire’s art style, the weird design choices, the heavy doses of sci-fi. Trillium, however, is a worthwhile read for anyone, and here’s why. New readers should be exposed to new and different comics, and this is certainly that. Old readers should look at Trillium and notice just how simplistic and similar a lot of comic book offerings are today. Yes, there’s a lot of diversity on comic store shelves today, and Trillium makes the strong argument that we need even more by being, simultaneously, unabashedly different and exceptionally similar. Cryptic? Maybe a bit, but go check out exactly what I’m talking about, and buy Trillium or, at least, wait for what is going to be an awesome collected edition!