Comics Time: Too Dark to See

Too Dark to See
Julia Gfrörer, writer/artist
Thuban Press, May 2011
32 pages
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“I just need your cum. Give it to me and I’ll go away.” Well, hello, sailor! In the vanguard of a burgeoning mini-movement of alternative comics dealing frankly and explicitly with/in sex, Too Dark to See centers on a liaison between a sleepy (or possibly sleeping) young man and a spectral shadow woman, the bluntly transactional nature of which is no doubt hot to some, cold to others. It’s tough to figure out how to feel about it, actually, and that’s what makes it a fine catalyst for the story, which is primarily about the real live human couple of which the guy is a part. His girlfriend, our protagonist through the bulk of the story, is introduced to us as either she or he (it’s not clear who; I’m not sure it matters) says “No one has ever loved anyone more than I love you” as they embrace in bed, but before long she’s being cuckolded by a shadow creature. We next see her sitting on the toilet, naked from the waist down, awkwardly asking the guy if he remembers jerking off in his sleep. She’s at a disadvantage throughout: She thinks her boyfriend might be cheating on her and her suspicion is greeted with angry dismissal, she fails to pick up on cues he thinks are screamingly obvious and interrupts him as he works on writing “the first good idea I’ve had in ages,” she suspects a customer at the coffee shop where she works of coming in solely to judge her, she’s worried about a black spot that could be an STD but which we can gather from our experience with the shadow person is likely something far more sinister, she self-mutilates, she struggles to even be heard at one point while lying under the covers when her boyfriend returns after storming off, and even supernatural entities make fun of her. Factor in Gfrörer’s shaky, wiry line, really perfect for capturing both the undermployed bohemian demimonde and the veal-calf physicality of young skinny naked people, and the feeling that emerges is one of almost overwhelming vulnerability — a woman who feels at the mercy of love, sex, money, class, and her own body, to the point where the addition of dark forces from beyond feels not just appropriate but almost inevitable. It’s an ugly feeling, and it takes a special sort of beauty to capture it as well as this disarming little comic does.

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One Response to Comics Time: Too Dark to See

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