In a four-color world full of spandex and leather-wearing supermen (and women), fur and chainmail-wearing barbarians, Vampires, werewolves, and zombies (oh my!), it is an unimaginable pleasure to come across an illustrated volume of work that not only is incredibly striking, remarkably engrossing, thoroughly entertaining, and completely novel. Yet that is what readers will find when they pick up Jason Brubaker’s stunningly rendered graphic novel reMIND.
First of all, it should be pointed out that the term “Graphic Novel” is freely tossed around in the field of comics, so much so that anything that is long-form and square-bound is referred to as a “Graphic Novel” no matter if it is six issue of continuity of an on-going monthly comic or simply a volume of a dozen of unconnected stories that are simply related to each other by theme. To be sure, these are not graphic novels. What Brubaker has delivered with his lovingly-produced, hard-bound book is a true graphic novel, 152 pages of an illustrated, continuous story that has a beginning a middle and an end (to be sure it ends in a cliffhanger, as there will be a second issue.
reMIND is the story of Sonja who’s dad had passed away and now was missing cat, Victuals. However, if things in her life weren’t askew enough, after a period of time, Victuals returns, only with a head full of stitches and the startling ability to speak. Needless to say, Victuals has no memory of how he got that way but the sleepy coastal town in which Sonja and Victuals live is changed forever. Together the two of them set out to solve the mystery of his disappearance, embarking on a journey that leads to an unusual underwater kingdom populated by reptilian creatures that is in the midst of a royal power struggle, but the answer to Victual’s true identity as well.
The book is a sweetly-told tale that completely enraptures the reader in its simply storytelling and exotic art. The fragile yet powerful illustrations of Brubaker make the reader want to linger on the art rather than rush from word balloon to word balloon; rendering each page in pastel washes and watercolors, bringing the tale of Sonja and Victual to an exotically compelling life. More than just a “long form comicbook,” reMIND is a children’s book that is targeted for adults while not leaving its child-like innocence (or audience) behind.
Brubaker is a recipient of the 2010Xeric Award (a private, nonprofit corporation that awards grants to self-publishing comic book creators, established by Peter Laird, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), plus it was nominated for the Great Graphic Novels For Teens list for 2012.