Story: Ryan K. Lindsay
Art: Owen Gieni
What They Say:
When one man’s writer’s block gets in the way of his suicide note, he goes for a walk to clear his head and soon uncovers a century-old conspiracy dedicated to creating and mining the worst lows of human desperation.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
One of the things I love about Dark Horse Comics is that they continually do some really offbeat things. They’ve done that in the manga realm with what they’ve brought to shores here, and they do it elsewhere within the comics world. Good material is good material no matter where it comes from. Negative Space is a new original miniseries from Australian writer Ryan K. Lindsay and it’s my first experience with his work, as well as artist Owen Gieni in terms of actual artwork. Reading through Lindsay’s site a bit, and digging into the intriguing things he writes about there, I came away from this book both excited and utterly terrified of what it will become.
Negative Space puts us into a world where there’s an organization of some sort that operates out of the Kindred tower, which is described as the place where the multinational corporation harvests and sells emotions out of people. The reason for it is not made clear, and there’s some potential that not doing so would likely end the human race depending on your interpretation of the final pages, but it’s an utterly disturbing place that works to destroy certain peoples lives in order to have them create disturbingly beautiful works that can generate intense emotions. The power of some people, though their words, their writing, their music or their art, appears to be what’s being mined here. And considering that most creative people are highly difficult people as well, it’s easy to imagine that such a job is maddeningly difficult.
Where the focus is on here though is with a man named Guy. Guy is not your usual comic book character as he’s overweight, dead in the eyes and in a state where he doesn’t take care of himself much. He’s a brilliant writer that can bring out big emotions in people through his novels, but the Kindred are trying to get him to write his suicide note, which could do even more amazing things than the books. He’s struggling with the words and we see how the Kindred works things to try and bring that out of him so he can write it, but there’s questions about how much of it is real. The manipulations go big in that kind of classic ultra secret and powerful organization way, but through the narration we get from Guy, it’s also made incredibly personal, and you quickly find yourself valuing him and hoping that he doesn’t go through with it, while also curious what could be written as even the Kindred folks make sure they don’t read it because of its power.
Frankly, Negative Space is not an easy book to read. And that’s a good thing, because not everything should be an easy read. This is a hard read because of the content, but also because of the lettering job for Guy’s writing aspect as that’s something I’m glad I could pinch and zoom on while reading the digital version. This opening installment doesn’t give us easy ideas of what the world is, but there are tantalizing clues to be explored as it progresses and that’s exciting to think about. The main focus here is on Guy and what he’s going through, and the way he struggles with it. It’s very, very well written and you completely empathize with him. Similarly, it’s given such a distinctive look through Gieni’s artwork that you’re drawn in all the more. There’s such detail to it and so many little bits that brings it to life even more here, that it’s one of those books you’re glad for because you can do a few read throughs just for the artwork. I’m wary of what the series may bring about in terms of the story, because it can go pretty dark, but it’s got its hooks in me deep right now.
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: July 8th, 2015