Story/Colours: John McGuire
Pencils: Edgar Salazar
Inks: Genaro Olavarrieta
Letters/Edits: Egg Embry
Story: Egg Embry
Artwork: Rolands Kalnins
Letters: Alexander Lugo
Edits: John McGuire
Currently funding on Kickstarter until Apr 29th 2022 (CLICK HERE)
In Our Dreams Awake tells the story of Jason Byron, a painter in a world of mages and magic, who hides a secret passion for contraband technology. In another world, he is the leader of a gang in a dystopian world of grime and neon. Here too he keeps a secret love, only this time that of his alien partner. Which world is the dream? Are both? Despite a bit of kitchen sinking content, this small press debut issue definitely deserves your attention.
Without giving too much of the plot away, the first, fantasy section, is entertaining enough. We have a protagonist who works their way down the familiar fantasy hero checklist. They’re fairly nondescript, but have connections to a historical war that split technology from magic and banished the former. Obviously one also needs a secret, and their family stargazer – or telescope to you and I – poses a risk that could see both them and their family in jeopardy.
The second section seems to be set in a post-apocalyptic city. Large areas are underwater and what remains is dark and lit only by neon street signs. A truce exists between the Fish, alien invaders, and the local gangs, which is threatened when a spaceship is observed in the night sky. This future Byron – or maybe it’s the same individual somehow – finds themselves caught walking between two worlds with disastrous consequences.
Overall, I was very impressed by this issue as a whole. I don’t want to seem like I’m denigrating the opening section as it serves an important contextual purpose, but I had a few niggles with what I felt was overuse of ellipses and the the way the Lord Maximillian character felt almost pantomime in the implied threat and villainy. This carries over a little in the ‘fantasy’ dialogue, but embracing it, I found it grew on me.
Switching to the second section was very jarring, but within the context of the full issue was done well. Splicing two very different comics in everything from style, colour, tone, and writing to create this weird chimera was a big gamble which I think pays off. Design wise, its clear where certain inspiration has been taken to bring the characters in these stories to life, and I hope the intent was more of homage. I’ll also be interested to see if the creative team stick with this half-and-half approach moving forwards or whether we might see them take a risk with a greater intermingling of panels.
As a small press release, I might have otherwise missed this so I’m really grateful for the chance to review. Whilst the idea of a character split between two, or more, very different worlds isn’t something new, I found the clashing of ideas here entertaining with just the right amount of rough edges. There’s a real risk that the two stories could become divergent to the point where it feels like simply reading two separate comics at once though, so I’m really keen to get my hands on issue #2.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster