Michael Bracco’s “the Creators” is a story with one of the most unique concepts I’ve seen in a long time. Everyone wishes they had the power to create what they see in their minds. These “Creators” have the power. Unfortunately? They’re teenagers.
It’s a rare occasion when I feel unqualified to review a book. There are times, of course, when I know I don’t have a solid grasp of a fandom, or an art style just doesn’t click with me, but even in those cases I feel I can give a decent accounting of a title and its worth. “the Creators” is a book that I loved the moment I read it, it resonated with me on so many levels, I actually find it hard to articulate correctly.
This is a story that can be classified in so many ways, it’s an adventure, a fantasy, a thriller, it even has the characteristics of a coming of age novel. It serves all these genres and does it brilliantly. But I think it does it’s best job as a coming of age story, there’s definitely allegory at work here.
As teens most of us got to a point where we had to decide if we were going to become part of the world around us or push back against it. I’ve known many people who went with the flow, did well in school, played sports, listened to their parents, didn’t bother with drugs or craziness and many of those people went on to perfectly normal lives. Then there were the others. The ones who through no overt desire just couldn’t fit in, who just couldn’t reconcile why the things they felt they were good at or loved were so unaccepted by the society around. This is how I read Mike Rocco’s the Creators. It’s the story of young adults who seemingly overnight develop the power to create the ideas in their mind, in the real world, just by drawing them.
Of course because these creations come from the minds of teens they’re going to manifest in the myriad of possible states that teens go through life in. The all seem to manifest to fill a need or express a desire held by the creator. Some will manifest creations out of fear, some in rage, some with wonder, and some for love. This is one of those moments in the story that so clearly parallels our world. How many of our youth, the different ones, go through life not knowing how to express those feelings. How many make the wrong choices and live in fear, or with anger, far too few seem to be able to channel those feelings into positive ways. And when they fail to control those feelings in the book something must be done.
Enter the “Agents”, The B.C.E. Agency, and The Creator Academy, all formed to help control the “threat” of children wielding such power. The mandate is to locate, contain, and register all Creators. This isn’t a permanent solution though. Creators supposedly lose their powers at a certain point and then can rejoin society. Which again calls to our own segregation of youth, you know until all that hormone stuff equals out. It amazed me over and over how easily Michael Bracco was able to weave our society’s hopes and fears in dealing with the youth into this beautifully drawn yet disturbing fantasy comic.
It’s true most of the creations are disturbing in appearance, but that made perfect sense to me too. The people creating these creatures are disturbed by the emotions that bring the creations forward. But there’s beauty as well. Not only physical beauty but Micheal shows us the beauty of seeing one’s creation brought to life in the eyes of these children, something that only the luckiest of us experience when we’re young. If you’ve ever watched a child, or teen, who really loves doing something, from a sport or an instrument, to a type of art or dance, and have seen that moment of pure bliss when it works then you know exactly what he was trying to show us in some of these panels. Even when things go horribly wrong, some of these kids love their creations, and why wouldn’t they? It’s only the adults that fear what they don’t understand right?
The first issue introduces us to Maya Esin, a girl just coming into her power, and her parents who have to figure out what to do next. Society is telling them registering and sending her away is the responsible, and legal, thing to do but what parent can just give up their child? As the story unfolds we see Maya experience the joy of creation, the loss of death, the fear of the unknown and through it all she shows a strength of character I wish I had at sixteen. It’s a wild ride of a first issue and I can’t imagine it’s going to slow down any time soon.
I love that I found a book that really explores those emotions we struggle with in our teens. That addresses the loneliness most of us feel. It’s wonderful that he’s taken the time and effort to paint that picture that most of us never notice, there are things going on in the minds of our youth, things that make them feel different, ostracized, alone. We need to look past the fear of their lack of control, we need to help them not contain them.
I’m really interested to see where he will take this, hope you come along and find out with me. the Creators gets an enthusiastic 5 out of 5.
You can buy the Creators at conventions directly from Micheal, online at his website (Spaghetti Kiss) where you can also find some really cool t-shirts of his own design, or you can follow it as a web comic at creatorscomic.com, the link provided will bring you to the chapters page I suggest starting at the beginning. You won’t be disappointed.