by Jason Brubaker
published by Coffee Table Comics
I got Jason Brubaker’s reMIND from my local library recently on a whim. I’m a sucker for a pretty cover. WOW I did not know what I was in for. (And I mean that in the best sense possible.)
The story starts as a tale of a girl (Sonja) and her cat (Victuals). Sonja lives in and runs the lighthouse in her beach community, made a tourist location by her father’s supposed sighting of a “lizard man.” Her story starts when her cat goes missing mysteriously…then comes back with humanoid level intelligence. The story develops into an adventure with elements of fantasy and political intrigue, and Brubaker develops his own wonderful, unique underwater world for us to explore and marvel at.
The story’s great for kids (though I’d say no younger than ten, I can see it getting a bit scary for children younger than that), and the characters provide great role models. Sonja is a down-to-earth engineer and inventor, intelligent, adaptable, yet responsible. We follow her story for the first chapter, and she’s easily likable. She initially comes off as a bit cynical, but her kind and affectionate nature soon becomes apparent. Victuals (post-intelligent gain), whom we follow for most of the story, plays a brave and quietly humble hero. He’s fun to root for, and the peril he experiences feels real enough to make it seem necessary to root for him.
The story moves along quickly, but skillfully. The revelations are frequent, but feel natural and make the book a pleasure to reread. Not to mention, they’re just plumb interesting; the internal logic of the story makes them feel almost obvious once you’ve read them, but I found each twist and turn to be more original than I would’ve guessed. I looked forward to each new page because I was never sure what was going to happen next.
The interiors of the book are beautiful, the stylization of the art quirky and whimsical, with a muted color palette lending gravity to the story. The dialog wastes no words when the illustrations can show us instead, and Brubaker’s background in animation is apparent. The pages with little or no dialog are some of the most moving in the entire book.
The comic is available online at reMINDblog.com where Brubaker keeps the first volume of the comic and updates with his progress on volume 2, but I highly recommend the hardcover. (I’m loathe to return this copy to the library, but alas. I’ll have to get my hands on a personal copy once I’ve got money.) The first volume hardcover is beautiful and fits comfortably in the hands (even hands as small as mine). The color translates perfectly to print, with high page quality pages. There’s an extra gallery of lovely pinups in the back, and Brubaker writes about his process of making reMIND into a comic book, totally worth the read, by the way.
Jason Brubaker has a page on his blog listing locations in the US and Canada where reMIND is available, as well as a link to his kickstarter funding the printing of volume 2, and the second printing of volume one. (There’s seven days until the kickstarter deadline, as of this writing.) He’s self-published under the name “Coffee Table Comics.”