Created by Nir Levie
Published by Markosia
Out: 9th April 2018
This is not a normal reading experience.
This summary of the plot is both true and misleading…
The Story: Khalek is a teenage boy who lives in an underground city, the denizens of which manufacture their food from roots that penetrate downwards from above ground. When he discovers a disease inflicting their main food source a series of events leads to the merging of his mind with that of Laura – A vehicle designer from present day earth.
The population in Khalek’s world are barred from visiting the planet’s surface, which is controlled by A xenophobic race of humanoids. The Humanoids communicate amongst themselves non-verbally and are constantly moving from place to place, using their legs as their only means of transportation. Khalek and Laura’s newly merged consciousness embarks on a journey to understand the interrelation of their respective worlds during which they find themselves attempting to communicate with the Humanoids in order to stop the disease decimating Khalek’s world.
Mycelium Seep is a science fiction story that deals with questions arising from the implementation of new technology- Is it possible to curb the rise of technology when it seems to lead down a dangerous path? A critical stance is taken regarding transportation, focusing on personal motorized vehicles.’
The Review: The themes of this book are many and complex. It does not, in many ways, make total sense to me and I love that it shakes its head as I search for reasoning,to explain what I have just read. As I read the whole book, I can taste the themes of imprisonment and escape, of conforming and rebellion; of mental illness and paranoia, of the creeping flesh of a life lived long and ultimately of life and death both metaphorical and true.
“I am a multidimensional being. I am a manifold of awareness. I am all their pasts, I am all their presents.”
Mycelium Seep is a book that plays with my senses and on occasion my stomach. The story initially pulls you in to a straight and regimented world. You see a section of the ant farm of humanity counting each step and mile as they grind away their failing business. But then you reach beyond that ordinary and banal world to something underneath, something strangely disturbing. A nightmare world in pretty much every sense.
I posted a couple of images that I found sudden and weird and shocking on a Facebook chat page I am a member of. A fellow artist, Sara Dunkerton, whose opinion I value. said the following:
“I’m both fascinated and horrified, intrigued and unsettled.”
This statement encapsulates my feelings for the whole book. It is, on occasion, not an easy read. It also, on occasion, feels a little rough around the edges in a way that many underground comix should always feel. It has an unorthodox structure and flow that seems to take you places and return you without explanation.
I would argue that we never need that explanation. Especially in a comic like Mycelium Seep.
There is also a subversive satire to the story. We see the organised industrial world at odds with the lysergic craziness of the alien world. It shows us creatures that are disfigured but at once easily that mutated state that we will find ourselves one day with a torch at the bottom of this seeping hole. It plays with the abnormalities of sex and body horror in some exceptionally originally ways. I’ll be honest in saying that my head is still whirling from this fucked up reading experience.
It’s not perfect. I’m kind of glad that it isn’t. The story and art could do with some empirical changes. The art itself has moments of roughness and the words translated (the creator is from Israel) are on occasion a little stiff. But these are small quibbles.
125 pages of a comic that I did not understand fully.
125 pages of a comic that is gloriously unhinged.
125 pages that got me thinking.
What more do you want from a comic?
• Mycelium Seep is released by Markosia on the 9th of April 2018 and is available from all good book and comic ships, ana d amazon.co.uk (using this link helps support downthetubes)
Antony Esmond is a comic reviewer and writer – his hips don’t lie.