Being handed the hardcover of “Surreality” by Caleb King, Carla Wyzgala, and Kat Guevara, I knew immediately that their work was something special. The strong, prominent, and imaginative beauty of artist Carla Wyzgala’s cover had an eye-catching appeal that would easily draw attention at your local book store or comic shop. The art work of Carla Wyzgala and Kat Guevara are valid reasons enough on why “Surreality” should jump to the top of your reading lists.
In a world filled with characters in capes and costumes, work such as “Surreality” is becoming more sought after. Publishers such as IDW, Image, Dynamite, and others are increasingly adding work that challenges your preconceived notions on what a “comic book” should be and of what makes a “graphic novel” more than just a collection of a particular story arc. It is a breath of fresh air to see creators such as Caleb King, Carla Wyzgala, and Kat Guevara working on material that doesn’t involve your usual rooster of heroes and villains. In fact, they’re not even working on what one could say is your usual rooster of stereotypical caricatures of everyday people. No, what King, Wyzgala, and Guevara have created is a series of stories populated by the people you know. The main character, Sydney, described as “going nowhere in life, a college dropout with a dead-end job” is that girl we all know. Maybe you follow her on Instagram, anxiously awaiting her next picture; maybe she’s a friend on Facebook who you see living a New York minute lifestyle; possibly she’s that girl that you just can’t figure out but by God she drives you crazy. Whichever one, Sydney – from the moment Caleb King wrote her and Carla Wyzgala and Kat Guevara illustrated her – became a living, breathing entity that is no longer a Mary Jane Watson or Gwen Stacy. She’s that girl that you ran into at Artist Alley and hope that if the stars align, maybe you’ll see her again. As Sydney says herself, “I’m not a complicated girl. I want to love, be loved in return, watch television, play Warcraft, and possibly have one incredibly amazing cup of coffee before I die.”
The power of a good creative team is akin to being that of an old testament/ mythological god. You create, give life, and could take away at any moment. You give people something to follow and hold on to. In creating the weekly web-comic, “Surreality” they have given comic/art/literature fans another reason to keep on reading. Their collaboration and effort have produced a series that differs from the usual encounters we have with graphic novels and comic books. The work, intelligently and beautifully displayed in the hardcover collection of “Surreality” crosses the line of being just another indie-comic into the territory of what Will Eisner did for graphic novels in the first place. King, Wyzgala, and Guevara have championed the format and have given another layer of respectability to the art form so many love.
“Surreality: Otherworld” collects material originally published in the weekly web-comic series created by Caleb King, Carla Wyzgala, and Kat Guevara. It is the story of Sydney, a young woman who is standing at either the edge of becoming an adult or remaining in the safe and cocoon like existence of not growing up. She is a slacker, has a poor attitude regarding work, yet is sweet, a dreamer, and the kind of person we can relate to. She’s afraid of failure and is unsure of how to face the uncertain future. In her attempt to break from the blunt truth of what it means to grow up and exist in a harsh reality we all know so well, she fantasizes of worlds beyond our dreams, worlds that could only exist in one’s imagination. Haven’t we all done this at one point?
“Surreality: Otherworld” and the series itself is a great read. Not only filled with enough pop-culture references, it is a simply gorgeous book to look at. “Surreality: Otherworld” gets four out of five stars.
*If “Surreality” has piqued your interest, then be sure to check out Caleb King, Carla Wyzgala‘s weekly webcomic at www.surreality-comic.com and at facebook.com/surrealitycomic as well as Instagram & Twitter @surrealitycomic
The series is available for purchase at surrealitycomic.bigcartel.com