Created by Olivia Sullivan
Published by Good Comics
Out: At Thought Bubble 2017
26 pages – colour interiors
The Story: Sid is a guy with a dangerous imagination. He continues in his fruitless search for a job and has to combat his anxiety dreams that include disease, the capitulation of the body, strange religious iconography and blue lakes (and many other scarily itchy incidents…)
The Review: I just got on a train. I have bought myself a bottle of fruit flavoured water and falafel wrap. “It’s going to be a long journey,” I was thinking and “I’ll have some time to read a few comics and maybe catch up on the ever present and growing read pile.
“Hmm, what shall I start with? I know, I’ll read the new book from Olivia Sullivan and Good Comics”.
Twenty minutes later…
“I don’t really fancy eating anything now.”
(Throws wrap in dustbin, tries to catch forty winks, can’t manage to keep eyes closed, worries that my scalp is itchy…)
I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t find another book like this on the shelves. Sid is, to put it blatantly, severely fucked up. He is not well, his mental illness and extreme anxiety issues give rise to him fixating on his body. The vileness that he imagines just under the skin. His body is rotting away in front of his eyes at every turn. His mind takes him on flights of nightmarish fancy.
He is a doomed man, in his own eyes. He has a psychosis that is actually hard to describe. His world is dripping and rotting and melting and morphing in reflection of his mental illness and his religiously instituted guilt.
The comic is split into four chapters: ‘Collecting Dust’, ‘The Blue Lagoon’, ‘The Forest’ and ‘Cleanse’.
All these titles only hint at what you might encounter.
SID is also a comic that is a genuine experience to read, albeit it an itchy one. It will actually make you feel the need to psychoanalyse the character of Sid and also, by extension, the creator and then again make you wonder about your own sanity as you turn the pages. It may also make you want to take a long shower. You sense that Sid is spiralling into madness in the absolute worst way and I worry that they must without any doubt be reflected in something that the creator has experienced. This is confessional in every image, or at least that is how I interpret the story.
Worthy of note is the self referentially humorous moment when Sid looks at his smartphone and we see that he is listening to ‘Paranoid Android’. At this moment I am reminded with a wink that not everything should be taken seriously or at face value.
Since this is a preview, I have strayed off the path of giving a blow-by-blow account of the story beats. Maybe I’ll save that for another time, post release, when I have ruminated on it a bit more. But what I can say is that this is a reading experience unlike anything I have encountered before. It will make you curious about that misshapen mole on your arm, worry about that smell in the freezer or why the dog keeps scratching his ear….
My only niggle and one that jumps out as you read is the lettering. It could do with a tweak or by getting an experienced letterer on board from the start. Shape the boxes and the font would lead to a smoother read.
Many thanks for reading.
Antony Esmond is a comic reviewer and writer – his hips don’t lie.