Entropy

Aaron Costain. Secret Acres, $19.95 (144p) ISBN 978-0-9962739-8-5
Canadian artist Costain’s surreal debut follows a faceless and philosophical protagonist who’s in the midst of an existential crisis in a “posthuman” world. “Goddammit, who made me?” the being shouts into the void. “And why didn’t they make me right?” The anonymous humanoid’s much-maligned maker bestows him with one piece of wisdom: “Mustn’t mix and match mythologies.” But that’s exactly what the story does, following the hero’s journey through landscape populated by heavily symbolic beings (golems, ravens, coyotes, angels, and a sinister cat). The self-absorbed protagonist gripes about the undefinable nature of consciousness, references Haruki Murakami, and tries to muddle through what it means to be human. In contrast to the abstract, desultory storytelling, Costain’s line work is pin-point precise: an angel shines with exquisitely pointillist detail, and a forest’s shadows are a marvel of cross-hatching. Costain’s day job as an architect shows in his clean black-and-white compositions that carefully balance darkness and light on each page. Yet, despite how well the aesthetic is executed, the meandering story feels as jumbled and confusing as life itself. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/16/2018
Release date: 06/01/2018
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