Monday, 14 January 2008

I really need a talking cat: Breakdown

The premise of Breakdown is self-evident in the title, a young man, Alan, after his car breaks down swiftly finds himself in a landscape driven by his dreams., he immediately goes into a dream-scape and is guided through this landscape by a talking cat, 'Blue', that may have been a childhood companion. The chronicles of Narnia are an obvious starting point, but Mercury hat has created an imaginative work that, if continued, would be a self-conscious and humorous examination into dreams.

The artwork veers between primitive and skilful. There's a sketchiness here, a minimalist black and white, there are some improvements, the beginning of part four shows an increase o complexity in shading and texture. There could have been more build-up, we've seen this type of story before, so the strip has to reach out into with this minimal set-up of this new dream world, maybe, hopefully, there will be more exposition later.

Still, this feels like a start-up comic (aka Nazi High or Hellbound ) and thus the writer is writing on the go, letting the story take him and while this is adventurous I can't help thinking of these numerous web-comic dead-ends when the story outgrows the original construct of the webcomic, the presentation and pacing betray a mind searching for ideas.

That said, a little more mystery would have added layers to what is one journey out of the dream-scape. The abrupt end to the strip is indicative of how fickle webcomics can be, how many times have we been disappointed by leaving too many questions unanswered to what was at the least an adventurous start to what could be a decent webcomic. (Niego anyone?)

That doesn't mean this isn't a worthy effort, if the landscape of this world is based on emotion, and as Alan as the main character is the force which has authority over it. So the puzzle at the basis of the strip is shown to the reader from the start, how to journey through an emotional state dreams being an obvious vantage point to since Neil Gaiman's Sandman. 

Here dreams are a far more prosaic and linear proposition, here they appear as a space to explore with one exit point. 9thElsewhere has perhaps gone over this trope more subtly but I can't help but feel cheated by this promising incursion into the fantastic that ended far too soon.


Jason said...

Ha...from the archives it seems as though Elizabeth of Breakdown is only motivated in September with biweekly updates for a few months...then eventually stop entirely until next September where she picks it back up again O_o

Scott said...

Most webcomics are cyclical I've found,they depend upon base interest not an editor's force of will. This blog has been through rough patches where I've barely updated for a month so I probably can't judge someone who doesn't want to do artwork when they have other things to do.

Elizabeth said...

Oh gosh, I just checked my logs after months of inactivity and found this. If only I'd started updating three weeks sooner.

Thanks for taking the time to look and comment, though :] .

--Merc, I do this here comic

Scott said...

You've started again? I've been looking through the new stuff and it's a lot smoother, I'm definitely interested in where this strip is heading, count me in as a fan (for what it's worth)