I met Ezra Claytan Daniels when he was still here in Portland, I think back at a zine symposium, where he was selling his self-published sci-fi comic book. Then he moved to Chicago, and I ran into him again when he was in town for the Stumptown Comics Fest, where I finally bought a copy of his books. (He was a bit surprised I hadn't read them yet, and I had no good excuse.)
Anyway, I sat down and read through both volumes last week. The story is set in the near future. Geaza and Bisso have been sent back from 3 million years in the future, where humans and society have evolved as far as they can go and feel stagnant. Geaza and Bisso are "evolutionary catalysts"; their prolonged presence in the early 21st century is supposed to give human evolution a kick, in the hopes that people will become something better.
At this point in the story, they've only been back for about four years, when a stranger shows up, claiming to be from their newly altered future. The news he brings at first reaffirms their faith in their mission, but then starts to bring some doubts. In between chapters, there are observational reports from Geaza, often reflecting on events that are in his history but will no longer happen.
The story itself is creative and a fascinating mix of time travel and pseudo-science. It raises some interesting points to ponder about sacrifice and purpose, and the question about defining success in such a bizarre mission. Some of the projections of the far future remind me of Kurt Vonnegut's Galapagos. The illustrations are a sort of stylized scratchiness, hand-drawn but then modified digitally. And the books themselves are printed in dark green ink on coarse grey paper, giving it a sort of recycled feel. It's beautifully done, and a pretty remarkable feat, especially considering Daniels was only 24 when the first volume was published.
Fed to jonathan's brain | June 27, 2006 | Comments (0)