What is Sci-fi’s role in the world of literature? I’ve always felt its role was that of the fun house mirror. It gives us a skewed reflection, shows a warped reality. And in doing so let’s us see ourselves anew.
This is the world of Eric Grissom’s Animals. It’s a little gruff and little more cynical than our world, sort of the anti-1950’s. Or maybe more real world 40’s. But there’s more to it than just that.
Chickens takes place in a factory town, a town just like dozens across America. Except this town exists in a world where the animals raise humans for food. Seems like a simple twist, at first glance maybe too simple, but it’s perfect. Even in this “enlightened” time, when everyone thinks they get the horrors of breeding livestock for food, the simple little twist of putting humans in the place of the meat they raise resonates. It would be easy to assume at this point that this is some vegan pamphlet illustrating the disgusting aspects of raising chickens and cows for slaughter. It’s not. Like all interesting sci-fi the conflicts are secondary to the characters and their development.
Chickens revolves around Marigold and her little brother Danny. Living with their mother in her boarding house we watch them come to terms with the inevitability of their lives. Eric (Grissom) conveys the feelings of small town life wonderfully, the feeling of being trapped by one’s home, one’s family, one’s responsibility. He also delivers the hope that separates the few who break the mold they’re born into, the relief and freedom of making that choice to live your own life, even while making sure the one’s you love can still live theirs.
We’ve talked about Claire Connelly on the site before. An art student with a blindingly bright future, her work here again shows such potential, such heart, I truly can’t wait to see what she gives us next.
This book is a solid 4 out of 5!
Animals: Chickens is available as a 32 page pdf on Gumroad. Gumroad is a pay what you wish platform, so for as little as a dollar you can download a “DRM” free comic that you can read on any device. And unlike some “digital” comics this one is a comfortable read on a screen, no weird panel breaks or bad page layouts to disrupt the story.
Still on the fence? Really?
Okay, here’s an 8 page preview.
I have it on good authority that this is only the first story in a much larger world. From the other stuff I’ve seen it’s going to be pretty fantastic.
It’s no secret that I love Eric and Claire’s previous work, read my reviews of Eric Grissom’s Deadhorse and Planet Gigantic (which will be coming out Summer 2014 from Action Lab!) and check out Claire Connelly’s Valves, which I purchased at Asbury Park Comic Con and loved.
Story and Letters by ERIC GRISSOM
Art and Cover by CLAIRE CONNELLY
fonts by Comicraft