Christopher Cantwell’s (She Could Fly) newest series focuses on a small town being indoctrinated by a cult like superstore. At first, it was a jigsaw puzzle of ideas and characters: a city council member with an ant problem; a paramedic with a tortured background; a young man who was being abused by his father; the guy that owned the local sound system store; and an employee of Everything who is there to… make people happy.
With the last few issues, a world behind Everything has been revealed, and the disparate story threads have started to weave together. The possible lead characters are starting to find some footing in the dramatic through line.
Here’s the thing: Even though I only had the vaguest of notions as to what was going on the first two issues, I couldn’t stop reading. Cantwell approaches his writing with the kind of patient, even-handed style that usually only comes to those who have a massive library of creative projects behind them. They’ve learned to be patient, and it pays off! There’s something intoxicating about his style, about watching these characters make the worst possible choices just to be happy. His style reminds me in some ways of David Lynch and in other ways of Alejandro Jodorowsky. There is an interest in the metaphysical - the exploration of humanity’s state of being - and the artist, I.N.J. Calbard, is up for the challenge, giving us surreal images that draw from Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel.
The question of “What is happiness?” is a big one these days. At a time when up to 16 million people can suffer from depression, it’s a subject that should be brought about more often. Humanity often seeks the external, the façade of happiness. Where Cantwell is going with Everything is still ultimately up in the air, but he’s got my mind working.
Creative Team: Christopher Cantwell (writer), I.N.J. Culbard (artist), Steve Wands (letterer), Karen Berger (editor)
Publisher: Darker Horse Comics and Berger Books
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