Sunday, December 26, 2021

31 Days Of CCS, #26: King Ray

King Ray's comics are oblique and a little terrifying. In Parched, which looks like the Ed Emberley assignment, there's a minimalist figure in the desert--not an uncommon image for this assignment, really. It begins with the figure being desperately thirsty--for water, certainly, but for other things as well. When another person comes along and points them to an oasis, they both hop into a deep source of water, passing jellyfish and whales. The heartbreaking element was the first person emerging on the other side, with no sign of the person who had saved them. An appeal to darker forces was made, which resulted in creating a loop of eternal thirst. Here, Ray's pencils are delightfully spare and a tad smudged, giving the comic an especially desolate feeling. 

my beast, my friend is similarly propulsive in its narrative, only it's rendered in a more naturalistic style. This can only be described as a horror story, detailing the highest highs of deep friendship and love and the lowest lows of abuse, depression, and suicidal ideations. Midway through the comic, the narrator describes being chained to a dark, great beast after "being turned away from the gates of Dionysus after waiting for 200 years." This was a fascinating sequence, as this is a metaphor for indulgence and sobriety, yet the ensuing state was one of melodramatic, self-spawning darkness. The narrator chose the darkness, in fact, but the betrayal came when a chorus of voices told her to disappear--and one of them was the voice of her friend, "pouring poison into the ears of our friends." The finale of the book, with the narrator cuddling up with the beast, utterly alone, is as desolate as it gets. Ray's language is poetic and the images are rendered in that smudgy, minimalist pencil, warping into grotesque figures unexpectedly. Ray has a lot to say, and I'm curious to see them continue to push themselves on the page.

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