Saturday, 17 February 2007

The ties that bind: Netherworld

Out of the many books I've read the Bible is one that is most scorched into my mind, I was once a Pentecostal, and as a basis for archetypes it does a swell job. I've always pitied the Atheists who were brought up atheists by Liberal parents. The Bible provides so many archetypes, a tapestry of figures, a mythology to mirror and even supass the Norse Eddas or Greek myths. If only as a story the Bible works and it also makes for a good basis for a narrative.

Netherworld is an apt supposition of the mundanity of everyday existence inserted into an off-kilter mirror image of our world (Serenity Rose would be a good comparison). Now, I'm not merely continuing with the theme of the afterlife from last week, this strip is based on our world after a great flood, there's a seediness implicit in the setting here, a land-locked equivalent of the Waterworld universe. The repercussions of the flood are reinserted here, Esperanza is a society just like ours in what looks to be a post-apocalyptic world. If the promise to Noah was predicated upon the fact that there would be no more floods, then faith in the biblical narritive is moribund, Netherworld is created in a world where the covenent that the Christian faith was based on has disappeared.

It's an interesting premise and creates a grimy forsaken atmosphere that I really dig.
Elamparo is aiming for an examination of belief here, in the faq he admits to be a promiscious genre-mixing whore. Sometimes the strip seems to be a proxy for E's own examination of faith, though this doesn't create one of those allegory ridden 'novels' that some Christians have plagued us with (C.S.Lewis' Pilgrim's Regress anyone?) The influences are here as a backing, not a catch-all basis for the strip.

In any case, I think the emphasis on the fantastical supersedes the genre boundaries here.
If the linework of the characters reminds of you a manga's sharp lines then the backgrounds are a textured and detailed haze. I'd never thought shades of grey could work this well on a webcomic but they do, lending the strip a certain elan. The introduction of colour into the strip adds a bejewelled virtuousity here when used. The dream sequences and the quotations frame the strip as something that is breaking and entering into profundity. I don't know if that's an altogether good thing, but at the moment all these mysteries and clues have got me hepped up and I'm waiting to see what the strip brings in the next bout of updates in the Northern Hemisphere summer.

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