Powr Mastrs Vol. 1
PictureBox Inc., November 2007
It might be the jellyfish-on-human double-penetration tentacle-sex scene that makes you realize that this is an adult fantasy comic, but that label, “adult,” is really present throughout this first in a projected series of chronicles of the land of New China. For all that characters like Subra Ptareo may be on a quest and Mosfet Warlock may be a mad scientist, their interlocking stories (so far) don’t read like the genre narratives of my youth beyond their fantastic trappings at all. Instead, they’re stories about buying things and selling things, about twentysomethings (or at least twentysomething analogues) meeting new people and flirting with them, about getting stoned, about fucking and deceiving the people you fuck, about being moved to tears by the realization that you’re actually good at what you’ve chosen to do with your life. Where the fantasy really comes in, for me at least, is in the art. C.F.’s simple, childlike line is reminiscent in affect and effect of Frank Santoro’s in their mutual publisher’s Cold Heat, but while the latter relies on open spaces and canny color choices to evoke the both the supernatural and the mental states akin to it, the former gets it done with detail. The result is always shocking, whether a sudden splash page overripe with flowers and foliage or a doggystyle-eye-view close-up of a tentacle-filled vulva. The word I’m really looking for here is psychedelic, not the cheesily amorphous lowest-common-denominator version but the intense wall-of-sound riot of art-information present in a Moscoso font or the crescendo in the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life.” The combination results in as fecund a playground for the imagination as a far more traditional fantasy story, but arrived at from a totally different direction. It’s inspiring.