The New World: Comics from Mauretania by Chris Reynolds


thenewworldcoverTitle
: The New World: Comics From Mauretania
Stand-Alone: Yes
Writer(s): Chris Reynolds
Illustrator(s): Chris Reynolds
Editor: Seth
Publisher: New York Review Comics
Format: Hardcover
Paperback Release Date: May 1st 2018
Pages: 276
Genre(s): Comics, Science Fiction
ISBN13: 9781681372389

This was nothing like anything I’ve ever read before. Released in bits and pieces since the mid-1980s, Chris Reynolds has been teasing readers with fragments of a world that seemed to continuously attempt to come full circle yet also remain fragmented and indecipherable. The cartoonist delivers a truly surreal story that often puts a strange individual with a helmet at the heart of it and successfully draws up a world that seems real at first glance but quickly shows its dream-like facet in the most calm and controlled way possible. Expect the black and white artwork to suck you into a parallel world that is stripped down to dichotomies and ideals, and the dialogue and direction to conjure a billion questions within you that will unfortunately never find answers in the long run.

Seth, a cartoonist himself, edited this volume and scoured the archives to put together all the artwork that Chris Reynolds ever shared with the world. A lot of the stories are actually short stories that sometimes don’t even exceed a page with nine panels, and often don’t ever show any signs of continuity between each other. Each story also strives for uniform panel size that are sometimes free of dialogue, making it easy to blow through the volume (clueless, most of the time). The main attraction in this collection is however the graphic novel Mauretania that occupies half of the volume and is strategically placed at the end (last half) of the volume. Readers who pick up this edition will thus find themselves in front of a bunch of stories that are extremely difficult to understand, but never meant to be. Just when you think Mauretania will clear up the air and give you exactly what you seek, you’ll find yourself mesmerized by its surreal and puzzling story, and succumb to its spellbinding vision.

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I would normally try and tell you what the whole graphic novel is about, but I believe The New World actually doesn’t want anyone to be able to achieve such a feat. In fact, Mauretania alludes to a whole rivalry between the unconscious and the rational. You can try as much as you’d like to try and connect the dots. You can try and enjoy the hunt for answers throughout this adventure. You can try and convince yourself that things seem to start to make sense. But I can assure you that by the end of it all, the only feeling you’ll have is a sense of loss. A feeling that gravity isn’t there to ground you anymore and that the artwork is starting to pull you into a dream where life is a mystery that you just can’t solve.

There’s no lying that this was far different from any typical collection of artwork. It will not please anyone who seek instant gratification. It doesn’t lay out the plans to the whole project and tell you everything that you want to know. Opposite to linear, this is a fragmented tale with recurrent characters and a mysterious world that strives to put forward mankind’s short-sightedness, search for purpose, blindness to detail, tendency to isolation and loneliness, and especially individual and corporate paranoia. As you can see, there’s a huge array of themes hidden within the black and white art, but what you’ll go home with after going through this collection of comics will be personal and probably very different from what anyone else with go understand from it all.

The New World: Comics from Mauretania is, I believe, a mysterious story that is simply meant to remain a mystery forever.

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THANK YOU TO PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE CANADA FOR SENDING ME A COPY FOR REVIEW!

MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★☆☆

Have you read it yet?

Do you plan to?

What do you think about The New World?

Share your thoughts with me!

Till next time,

lashaansignature

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29 comments

  • Ok, that was really weird. Anyway, let’s see if it was content related.

    My guess he was doing the drug scene back in the 80’s, as that would explain the lack of explanation, cohesiveness, etc. Lines of cocaine can do that to a person.

    Of course, now that I’ve written that, watch. He’s probably a teetotaling vegetarian who doesn’t even consume caffeine 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely appreciated that a lot. Anything that challenges me to look to the 10th degree to understand and enjoy something is always a plus for me. It’s probably the main reason why this didn’t flop for me like it would have for many others. 😂 Thank you so much for reading, Tammy! Truly, truly appreciate that a lot!

      Like

  • Awww such a great review Lashaan! I recently read Zezee with Books who read a graphic novel that was quite surreal and odd to her too… It sounds like these are comics for the intellectual! Funny how we have these little golden comics out there are we don’t realize until someone gathers them into a collection! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Dani! It’s always nice to pick up art that pushes the imagination in unpredictable directions. It forces readers to break out of their boxes and try and see what’s up.

      Like

  • “Expect the black and white artwork to suck you into a parallel world that is stripped down to dichotomies and ideals, and the dialogue and direction to conjure a billion questions within you that will unfortunately never find answers in the long run.”- gosh I love how you describe this!!! You make me want to pick this up *right now*!!! This is such a sensational review and I’m really curious about this now- I want to get to the bottom of this mystery! (even if it’s destined to remain a mystery forever lol!)

    Liked by 1 person

  • This comic is new to me. Honestly, it doesn’t sound like something I’d enjoy. However, I really love the small parts of Chris Reynold’s art you’ve shared. I am a huge fan of chunky, stark drawings. How did you find this collection? It seems like quite a commitment to take on!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a hard time believing that there would be a huge fanbase for it too hahah It’s not easy to appreciate. I had no clue what I was reading for at least half the volume (which were mostly short stories). The art was interesting and often there’s barely any words so you’d read through super quick while not understanding what was going on. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahah I tend to do that with some books where I understand what it wanted to do and how much potential it has but ultimately aren’t things that I’d heavily recommend or rush to re-read. 😛 It’s a very particular comic. 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

  • Sounds like one of those literary books that has a strange ending that may be interpreted in a number of ways, or one that might make you think, “Huh? Worst ending ever.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha yes, that’s exactly it. Although I feel like a lot of people won’t be patient enough to try and see between the lines. It’s definitely not an easy read, even when it’s not even heavy on dialogue.

      Liked by 1 person

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