Thursday, 10 March 2011

Something wicked this way comes: The watcher of Yaathagggu

I have to say this tongue twister strip, The watcher of Yaathagggu,  is shaping up quite well, at first glance it looked like mere riffing on the Cthulu mythos and would be an aimless appendage on an already well-furrowed meme, but the author, Robyn Seale, has a plan here and this looks well thought out. The backgrounds and the shades used give a washed- out dreamy feel which acts as a perfect counterpoint to the crisp, clean line work. The amount of visual information your eyes have to process here is several degrees of magnitude more than your usual webcomic, lots of action and movement. So for 'production values' this is a pretty impressive strip.

The background to this world we're implanted in has been left suitably ambiguous, no clear-cut genre boundaries imposed on the reader, it's semi-modern with lots of squiggle room left for further development. The protagonist watches the seething void of darkness at the edge of town, Yaathaqqqu, a broken fuckery of a place of pervoids and skanks and our hero, Pieta Gaolwynne, is being sucked into something awful.

As for genre, Steam-punk or cosmic horror would be the obvious cop-out thing to say but, frankly, the narrative's open spaces provided and the ambiguity as to what the hell exactly is going on is part of the pleasure of reading this strip. The nameless evil omnipresence feels more like a 'mcguffin' at the moment, and now we're just learning what the mechanics of the world are, what makes it tick. This looks like it we're in for a dense danse Macabre with an injection of gallows humour for piquancy. Good stuff.

Musical accompaniment: Sigur Ros: Takk. Angelic, troubled, wistful and fey. Perfect backdrop to this bleak dreamscape.

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