Thursday, April 3, 2014

Advance Review: Genesis - Nathan Edmondson, Alison Sampson, & Jason Wordie

We all want to change something in the world, whether it be within our family or on a more macro level or both, for better or worse. In Genesis Edmondson, Sampson & Wordie explore that issue and how far a person is willing to push themselves to do so. Edmondson, Sampson & Wordie also use this to investigate and explore what would happen if someone was given absolute power to do so and how creative and destructive it can become to the world and to one's self. 

Right from page one we're given a good amount of information about our main character, Adam. Adam is a child of creativity, he creates and transforms his ordinary blocks into something more substantial, more tangible. We're also given that his parents instilled in him the need to change the world, to leave his mark, they were building him up to be something more than the rest. As Adam gets older, he uses his creativity and his need to make to change the world through building a church and becoming a preacher. What better of a way to change the world around you by becoming a man of the holy word but things never work out the way you want them to.

As the story progresses Adam receives a special power that allows him to change the world, to make the world his own building blocks. Adams now has the ability to create whatever enters his mind and to change reality into his own. And what starts out as a something special becomes a nightmare.
Reading Genesis is like entering a surreal and dreamlike landscape that twists and turns and gets bent-out-of-shape as we keep reading; always changing and surprising us. What we think we know as real gets questioned multiple times. The conscious and the subconscious invade Adam's waking life and twist his world into something beautiful and horrific. Whatever personal and open space the world had is now melded together. Adam's landscape becomes something out of a David Lynch and Cronenberg film.
I love little touches like these. Sampson & Wordie are showing us a landscape
 that has become personified, that has changed into something
more insidious and personal.
All this happens because someone wanted to change the world. Adam was groomed from an early age to be better, to be something more, and Genesis follows this idea thoroughly throughout the comic. From the seed of  "wanting to change the world" do we get into the predicament that Adam gets himself into in the comic. Edmondson, Sampson & Wordie follow the ripples of a person getting such power to do so. We read how a creative and driven person can create and ultimately destroy the people around him and his world. We're given some explanations of the thing who gave him his powers and the overall picture of the powers, but it's never fully explained; that's fine. Edmondson, Sampson & Wordie are not interested in giving a full-depth explanation of the powers but explore the how a person changes through such powers and its ramifications. 

Again Sampson & Wordie show us the world in turmoil and a world
personified through Adam's subconscious.
I was taken aback time and time again by Sampson & Wordie work. Genesis would not have the impact it had on me if it wasn't for Sampson & Wordie. Everything I've written about the world of Genesis is fully realized and brought to life by the amazing skills of Sampson & Wordie.
Sampson is an interesting artist because of the many different influences I pick up from her work; incidental or not. Looking at her line I see many different artists and cartoonists being brought to life: I see the loose, abstract line-work of Alberto Breccia during his later years as a cartoonist, the wild yet mathematically structured composition of Sergio Toppi, the sketchy and scratchy aesthetic of Egon Schiele backed by Sampson's eye and hand as an architecture. Sampson is able to bring all these different visuals and distil it into something unique that comes alive in Genesis.
Jason Wordie does a beautiful job matching those unique visuals with a very soft palette that gives the narrative and Sampson's artwork more emotion depth and feeling. Reading through some interviews with Sampson and Edmondson, I see that they asked for coloring to be influenced by Hiroshi Yoshida. This is a very interesting choice because looking through Yoshida's work, his use of color is a bit strange but it gives his paintings and woodblocks a certain emotional feeling. It's this idea that Wordie used to color Genesis and give it that same unique feeling that you would get from a Yoshida painting/woodblock. With all the destruction that takes place, there's a feeling of placidity that washes over the reader and I don't think that would have happened if Wordie used a different color palette.
There's an odd calmness even in the most destructive scenes.
Genesis is a fascinating comic that explores ramification of wanting to change the world & explore the meanings of creation and destruction. The synergy that Edmondson, Sampson & Wordie bring to Genesis is breathtaking and will leave you reeling for days.

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