The Clarence Principle
by Fehed Said, art by Shari Chankhamma
Clarence is a suicide, and finds himself in a strange, Wonderland-like afterlife where he's still seeking answers and looking for closure to the events that caused him to end his real life.
Some of the characters in this story were downright cute in a very goofy, stupid sort of way. The main character was ok, but not my favorite... and most of the women in this story just annoyed me.
Quality of Writing:
It flowed easily, but because of the nature of the story, and the fact that the afterlife is supposed to appear strange and perhaps a bit disjointed, the story itself didn't always flow together easily... and you found yourself jumping from one scene to another, often rather abruptly.
I'm not sure how I feel, or what I think of the ending. In the end, essentially, he ends up following someone else's heart... and I'm not sure how I feel about the treatment of the afterlife... I mean, the kid is surrounded by demons, I can only assume he's in some sort of version of Hell... and yet, it seems like he's passing through, not about to be a resident. The story ends up leaving almost all of its questions unanswered, except for the one, "Can the dead die?".
The story asks questions like "Can the dead die?" and makes me think that the author spends a lot of time dwelling on being forgotten, and being able to forget. This is essentially the aftermath of a tragic love story that we really get to see no part of. Things obviously didn't go well for Clarence... and yet he gets a chance, in this demonic afterlife, to redeem himself to a degree. He helps those he comes across, and in the end, helps himself. There is a reoccurring theme of pink water flowing throughout this world, and I think at one point it's tied in to Clarence realizing what he'd done to himself... but seeing as how its a black and white comic... the pink water was perhaps not quite as prevalent as it could have been. I think it would have been something much better seen and not always spoken about.
I actually really liked the dark, gritty, smudged illustrations in here. They reminded me of the old Nightmares and Fairytales comics... which I miss dearly... and admittedly, it was the art style that made me pick this one up. My only complaint would be the strange, ram horn style ears that the characters have.
Believability of World:
I struggled constantly trying to balance this afterlife with what I know of Dante's Inferno. The story hinted just enough at Dante's for me to be annoyed by the inconsistencies. That, and you don't really get a good feel for how the world works. Things seem to happen solely to benefit the character without really adhering to any over-arcing plan for the world itself.
Overall Grade: C