Awash In “Blooolight”

Curious items don’t come much more curious than this one — an undated, uncredited, eight-page mini that offers a refreshingly feminist, and decidedly succinct, take on popular sci-fi/fantasy tropes without saying a word. Unless you count “psttt —” as a word, that is.

Still, never doubt that there is a cartoonist behind this self-published exercise in kaleidoscopic anonymity — and a damn good one, at that. The name Maya Durham may be far from a household one for the time being, but if Blooolight is a portent of things to come, it’s one we’ll all be familiar in due course, even if it continues to be conspicuous by its absence on the covers of future publications. After all, visionary talent has a way of making itself known one way or another.

That’s the hope, at any rate, which provides me with a clumsy segue opportunity of sorts — this comic, you see, offers the kind of uncharacteristically hopeful and optimistic take on virtual realities that’s fallen out of fashion in recent years/decades (hell, I’d be lying if I said I bought into the whole “technotopia” idea myself), but is expressed herein with such unforced emotional openness that one can’t help but kinda wish for Durham’s view on things to be the correct one. After all, the idea of a magical kingdom that will happily welcome both you and your cat waiting on the other side of your computer screen is vastly preferable to finding some doughy, basement-dwelling incel plotting the next mass shooting, is it not? Ah, if only —

We live in cynical times, obviously, but in fairness this comic might find itself open to charges of naievete even if we didn’t — however, the celebratory tone and texture of Durham’s vibrant watercolor-infused splash images (every page in this comic is a single panel — and hey, every single panel is a page, too) puts paid to that notion rather quickly, burying trepidation, dystopianism, and even irony under a cascading phantasmagoria of rediscovered innocence. This is a fun little book that has no aspirations — or, worse, pretensions — toward being anything else.

It’s also, as the images attached to this review clearly show, flat-out gorgeous. Granted, it wouldn’t work conceptually if it were anything other than that, but how many times have we seen artists with one path to efficacy somehow get off track? “You had one job” sounds easy enough on paper, but when it comes to sequential visual storytelling, staying true to a singular vision from start to finish is no simple task, and that applies to books and ‘zines of any length. This a hermetic, perfectly-realized work that sets a clear artistic goal and sees it through without so much as a hiccup or glitch.

Do I like Durham’s comic, then? Spoiler alert — of course I do. But it’s probably more accurate to say that I’m downright enamored with it — and hey, that’s an all too rare occurrence for this grizzled veteran of the critics’ trenches. Give it a shot yourself and you’ll be adding a little bit of joy to your life. Who couldn’t do with some more of that?

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Blooolight is available for $5.00 from Austin English’s Domino Books distro at http://dominobooks.org/blooo.html

Also, this review — and all others around these parts — is “brought to you” by my Patreon site, where I serve up exclusive thrice-weekly rants and ramblings on the worlds of comics, films, television, literature, and politics for as little as a dollar a month. Subscribing is the best way to support my continuing work, so I’d be very appreciative if you’d take a moment to check it out by directing your kind attention to https://www.patreon.com/fourcolorapocalypse

2 thoughts on “Awash In “Blooolight”

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