Writing: Ryan O’Sullivan
Cover: Andrea Mutti & Vladimir Popov
Pencils/Inks: Andrea Mutti
Colours: Vladimir Popov
Lettering: Deron Bennet
Publisher: Vault Comics
Creativity is a strange thing; tropes, plotlines, originality, and the inevitable fear of being bland and unoriginal. Every author feels the feeling on one level or another, some more than others, but at some point everyone has the Fearscape bearing down on them. I’m in awe of the way O’Sullivan has transformed his fear into a masterpiece of comic literature. I call it comic literature because every word of his exposition is an homage to the greats that have came before, and even an homage to the prose writers that have contributed so heavily to the written word. From Moore to Gaiman, O’Sullivan channels some of the greatest comic writers of all time. Fearscape is more than just a comic, it’s a love letter to the written word penned in the universal language of love. O’Sullivan is eloquent and quaint in his display of affection but honestly this small observation in only from the first few pages. Fearscape goes on to tell a story of a struggling writer that gets ushered into the Fearscape as a supposed champion. The only problem is Henry Henry isn’t much of a champion. Henry Henry’s a plagiarist and a thief with nil an original thought in his head but he’s mistaken for his friend who happens to be the greatest storyteller alive. Of course the greatest storyteller alive would be an awesome champion to represent us in the Fearscape where man’s greatest fears come alive, but what does that mean for Henry Henry who is pretending to be the greatest storyteller. The idea of Fearscape is wholly original and as I said every aspect of the writing is a homage to the written word, both prose and comics. A true masterpiece.
With writing so timeless, within a world that is so serious, the art needs to be on the level of other great comics. I get a distinctive vibe from Mutti and Popov, it reminds me so much of early Sandman that I can’t help but compare all aspects of both comics. The character design and world building has the feel of similarity while also feeling completely different. I think it’s the look and how each panel feels like a painting that should be hanging on the wall, or it could also be the way each panel flows together and becomes part of the story itself. The importance of the words give way to the importance of the art and the art covers every aspect of emotion; it’s subtle but sophisticated, boisterous but modest, it’s everything and in some cases literally nothing. I feel like it’s the colors from Popov that give it the feel that makes it seem so classic and I truly believe this will be considered a classic some day.
Fearscape will be in stores September 26th but if you’re smart you already have your LCS holding you a copy.