The Human Beings Issue 4
Written and drawn by SJ McCune
Published by Millicent Barnes Comics
“I’m already in a different place. I left where. I let the tether out more and more. I am losing sense of where I left…”
And so starts the labyrinthine fourth issue of what started as an anthology of sorts and now morphs beyond that. The strings are drawing tighter yet the world of The Human Beings is still a darkly mysterious universe. Dive in.
Hands up. Stuart is a friend of mine. He is also one of the few people that I trust the opinion of in areas of creativity. In my opinion, his comics expose his character. He is alternatively and concurrently dark, humorous, generous, intense and most importantly intelligent.
I have read this comic three times and come to a different conclusion as to its meaning, both hidden and overt, on every single page turn.
What I can say is that it is unlike the mainstream. It lives in the shadows. It is sharply insightful into the movements and emotions of the “Human” condition. It also incites a mood and a feeling that will infest your thoughts.
I have said it before and I will say it again – this story reads you as you read it!
I have never come away less than incredibly inspired to write about what he says and then go away and create something for myself.
I have had conversations with Stuart about this series and I harbour notions that it is in some way autobiographical. A notion that he denies with what I read to be a wry grin. From our friendship, I know a little portion of what drives him and where and what inspired him to create this comic. We see passages and movements that seem like escape and flight, both literally and figuratively. I can almost see Stuart shaping the panels in his mind as he boards a flight for a strange and beautiful land.
So… what is this issue about?
It deals with the exposing of a terrorist conspiracy, one that will change the face of this totalitarian world and the comic that possesses its soul. The players, who range from being dead-eyed poster children to flamboyant hostesses to sinisterly masked figures, seemingly birthed from a sci-fi BDSM monster movie. And they are now out in plain sight. Buttons are being pressed that will change things.
Change. Hmmmm. An arising theme in my mind as I read. Change through travel, change through memory and change through rebellion.
I paraphrase but…
“The revolution is just a panel away…”
As always, Stuart pushes at the boundaries of art in experimentally exquisite colours and bold lines and characters. He shows a thought and a feeling and a sinister creeping eventuality like nobody else can manage when writing a comics page. At times, his art seems completely abstract – before he jolts you back with the wide eyes of a face you feel that is familiar.
I go backwards and forwards through the comic and hold at certain images. You feel a conjoining of fine art, abstract emotions, deeply uttered words and all in an item which is without doubt a comic.
It’s hard to describe certain events without spoiling this ball of wool that is unravelling at speed as it rolls down a heat bitten pavement.
But I hope that you will give it a try.
My words never do it justice.
Many thanks for reading.
Antony Esmond is a comic reviewer and writer – his hips don’t lie.