Strayed by Carlos Giffoni

details
TITLE: Strayed.
WRITER(S): Carlos Giffoni.
Artist(S): Juan Doe.
Colourist(s): Juan Doe.
Letterer(s): Chas! Pangburn.
PUBLISHER: Dark House Books.

FORMAT: Paperback.
RELEASE DATE: MAY 26TH, 2020.
PAGES: 144.
GENRE(S): COMICS, SCIENCE-FICTION.
ISBN13: 9781506714288.

MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★☆☆.

thoughts

Have you ever felt so overwhelmingly happy to be around certain people that you’d do anything for them? The sense of belonging can be mysteriously hypnotizing and leave you blind with a desire to please and satisfy. Imagine the strength of this love in pets, those very life companions that long for your love and attention (and probably also for your food). But sometimes, happiness can be an illusion fed through false promises and empty words. Sometimes, they open your eyes to the ugly truth and everything you believed in crumbles before you. Collecting issues #1-5 of Strayed, debut comic book writer Carlos Giffoni and veteran comic book artist Juan Doe join forces to deliver a story featuring a powerful cat and his owner off to change the world in unimaginable ways.

What is Strayed about? Set in a faraway future, the story follows an astral-projecting cat named Lou and his owner Kiara Rodriguez condemned to working for a military-industrial complex ruled by Premier Peely. Through a translation device, Lou is able to communicate his thoughts to his owner, and innocently utilizes his powers to search out for habitable planets with a viable and organic energy source. What he doesn’t know is that his abilities are used for much sinister plans that rhyme with galaxy domination through destruction and colonization. It’s when Lou learns the truth that he then becomes the last hope to save humanity before it’s too late.

This stand-alone graphic novel has a lot of great ideas but most of them come off half-baked. It isn’t a flaw in itself, especially when you realize its length, its focus on the artwork rather than a wordy exposition, and its elusive desire to raise philosophical questions. Without ever beating around the bushes, the story dives headfirst into this science-fiction universe and quickly establishes the few characters and their relationship with one another. The various dilemmas are then established, leaving the reader with questions to ponder, whether it’s the cost of one life versus that of millions or the omission of the truth from loved ones for their own good. The final act, where all the cards are flipped over, the story takes an unexpected turn as it allocates the final issue to a completely hallucinatory experience that tackles themes of love, loss, purpose, and home. While this final issue was visually commendable, it forbade this tale to offer any form of closure and left a lot of loose threads hanging around in the universe.

If there’s one thing this story does right, it’s the artwork. Artist Juan Doe pencils and colours all five issues and does an exquisite job in sharing a gorgeous vision of a galaxy filled with beautiful yet dangerous creatures. Whether it’s a planet with inorganic beings (e.g. A.I.) or creatures with an advanced form of communication, there’s a truly outstanding visual understanding of this universe in which this story is set and the artwork allows the reader to be immediately immersed in this environment throughout this voyage through space. Tinted in shades of green, orange, and brown, the artwork also fully appreciates the liberty of structure as it presents stunning splash pages that capture a very experimental visual style.

Strayed is a psychedelic and out-of-body adventure featuring a disillusioned feline creature and his search for happiness.


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

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22 comments

  • Ha well no hallucinatory story for me thank you kind sir 😉 Honestly I don’t think that one is my jam. The art in the beginning seems great but some of what you share next leaves me dubious.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hahaha they are very trippy! As for the art showcased here, there is one picture in the gallery I show where you actually see cover art on the left, which is not part of the story, to un-confuse you quickly hahah

      Like

  • Nice nursery rhymes you have there, Lashaan! 🤣🤣🤣
    Cool review! But I don’t get the vibe that it’s a comic for me – so I think I’ll pass 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hahaha it’s fun to occasionally check out those stand-alone non-superheroe stories. You never know what you could discover. But yes… This might not have what we both desire in our stories hahah 😛

      Like

  • I thought cats’ egos were too big for them to ever become disillusioned! 😉

    On a blog note, what caused you to make the pictures a manual slideshow instead of an automatic one? I like it, that way I can look at one pix and not have to wait until it cycles around again.

    And with you being a dotcom, are you having to deal with the block editor from wordpress.com or are you hosted elsewhere and so using other tools?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahah fair point! This cat must be truly different for the sake of the story! 😛

      It’s how the block editor now does gallery slideshows. I do truly appreciate that you enjoy it like this, I too find it easier to enjoy the pictures like this. It even has a “click and drag” feature (probably even cooler on a tablet or something) instead of just clicking on the arrows too. 😀

      I’m a wordpress.com blog indeed and not in their business plan too. Like most of us, I too have the option to use that “classic” editor feature but I’ve gotten used to the “block” editor now and still learning the ropes for certain features. I feel like I need to play around with the HTML codes more often if I want to do fancy things too now hahah

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ahhh, good to know it was all the block editor’s idea then. I’m sorry it is changing things on you.

        My issue is that we shouldn’t have to “code” more just to write a post. I don’t know what I’m going to do…

        Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a cool idea but the execution is definitely where things were faulty. It remains something quick and easy to read if anyone is even a little curious about the story. Thanks for reading, Yesha! I appreciate it a lot. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • This one is new to me but it brought to mind another short comic series I’d read a while back and thoroughly enjoyed called We3, written by Grant Morrison. It was also a sci-fi tale, written from the perspective of 3 animals (dog, cat, rabbit) that’ve been turned into cyborg killers, or at least that’s what their creators intended.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh man. Grant Morrison during his days with Vertigo comics was beyond his time hahahah I still need to read We3 though and hopefully I’ll get around to his stuff since I’m a huge fan of his work in general! He challenges our imagination in unimaginable ways!

      Like

  • “What he doesn’t know is that his abilities are used for much sinister plans that rhyme with galaxy domination” When I read this I laughed so loudly and strangely my husband came to check on me. You slay me.

    I’m with you on the artwork. Wow! The cover alone intrigued me greatly. I cycled through your photos at the bottom a few times before I read the review based purely on the cover. So. Pretty. And so silly! I like silliness sometimes in sci-fi. It takes itself too seriously too often.

    Can you elaborate a bit more on the half-baked ideas comment? I don’t want to say more until I hear you elaborate, because I think I might be interpreting that differently than you mean it…

    I’m frustrated for you with the hallucinatory episode concluding the story. Moments like that always frustrated me — don’t undermine you own story like that!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hahahahaha I’m happy that it made you laugh that much! It is an idea that’s quite extreme in itself. 😛

      It is indeed great artwork. Although it’s short, it was fun to sift through the artwork. I think the silly parts you identified are actually “cover art” integrated in between each chapter! The rest is actual artwork. 😀

      Because of the length, a lot of the big ideas in this one are superficially explored. For example, the main idea of invading planets to get a good energy source is essentially a nod towards pollution before shifting it towards simply colonization of planets for planet domination hahaha

      Yep, such an unsatisfying ending. Unless, of course, the reader just wants to be amazed by the visual experience. Then it’s a huge win. 😀

      Thank you for reading and being so inquisitive, Jackie! I love it! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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