Breathtakingly unique. Our first comic pick of the week goes to The Surface #1. I intended to start with some familiar fare, perhaps Batman or the latest All-New X-Men, but that changed once I turned the cover to The Surface #1. Written by Ales Kot, with art by Langdon Foss and colors from Jordie Bellaire, The Surface is a neo-psychedelic treatise on the nature of reality seen through a hyper-contextual 21st century lens. The story follows a trio of young, over-talented, underachieving explorers on a literal vision quest. The trio search for the true nature of reality, which is both a place and a state of mind. On the surface, fully aware of the pun, the social exiles are searching for the uncharted in an overcrowded gutter earth where nothing is special or sacred. The subtext is a psychological odyssey into the depths of our consciousness and how we interpret the world around us.
What I love is the inherent ‘meta-ness’ of it all. Much in the same way the characters of the Surface see reality as an exercise in perception, there are multiple layers on which you can enjoy the story. This is not just a story of static images on paper. As perception shapes reality, so too does the reader shape the story, and Kot wants us to get our hands dirty. To this end, the philosophic narrator addresses the reader directly, even opening the issues by asking questions that can just as easily be asked of the world as to the face in the mirror. “Do you see me?//Do you know what I am?//If I peel you back, will more of you escape into the world?//Who is speaking to you when you hear my voice?”
Kot and Floss have created a world whose materialism, affection for authority figures, and superficiality is unsettlingly familiar to our own. The world portrayed in The Surface presents a densely populated and meticulously crowded cityscape where privacy is a half-remembered triviality. True, The Surface is seen through a decidedly cynical lens, but it is not just a down and dirty nihilistic vision of a dystopic, high-computerized future. There is hope here; a dogged, unreserved and daring hope that puts faith absolute in the mind’s potential to create. It offers glimmers of the magic seeping through our preconceptions if we are brave enough to explore the unknown and socially uncharted.
Did you read The Surface or have a different pick for the week? If so, share it in the comments section below!