Darkness (published as “Noirness”)
Published in 2013 by AdHouse
Read the story on -Boulet-‘s website!
The protagonist of -Boulet-‘s comic “Darkness” has roommate trouble. We’ve all been there, protagonist-man. It’s about perception and compatibility.
1. I know I contradicted myself, look I don’t need that now.
The principle characters of “Darkness” are a man and a woman who are friends. I guess they don’t have names which bugs me. Perhaps it’s because I write about comics and it is difficult to refer to characters without having them have names. I’m going to call the boy “scruff-guy” and the girl “stripe-girl.”
2. I had a friend who was only attracted to women in striped shirts.
There’s a panel in this comic where Stripe-Girl angrily averts her gaze from Scruff-Guy and it just twangs on my heartstrings. It’s very interesting to see the way characters act when they are attracted to each other, especially in secret.
Has this ever happened to you? A benchmark in any friendship (and often a breaking point) but in the snow globe world of fiction, one can appreciate such a melancholy interaction from a safe remove.
3. Pure elemental.
This comic isn’t literally supernatural or “magical realist.” It’s just an externalization of the way some people perceive one another and react to one another. From people seeing a box of cereal as a bottle of whiskey to a character losing height and gaining weight next to another character, this comic is directly about seeing what we expect to see and seeing what we want to see rather than seeing what is really there.
You’ve had these discussions with your friends. Something happens and an instant later, you cannot agree on exactly what you both observed.
4. Does that mean it has to start violently to to well together?
The conclusion of “Darkness” is a well-earned tonal shift from the preceding action. The meat of the story is fast-paced banter, hyperbolic flashbacks and episodes of heightened reality. It ends on a simple, naturalistic scene that allows the reader to breathe out. A sigh of an ending. A pleasant sigh. A reassuring exhalation. The question-and-answer posed by the ending doesn’t undercut the climax of the story but rather supports it like a crossbeam. Things worked out one way but things don’t need to work out the same way for all people.
The story of one relationship, with another relationship hidden parallel, quietly beneath.
5. All in a day’s work.
Cartoonist -Boulet- created this comic in twenty-six hours. Ridiculous.