Friday, November 28, 2014

Book-A-Day 2014 #332: Cypher by Brad Teare

Dream logic can be an easy out for a story, a way to have anything happen and events flow without any logical sequence. When it works well, though, it gives a sense of connection, as if that work depicts a world more real than our own, a template from which we're only a fuzzy copy.

I won't claim that Brad Teare's Cypher -- originally published as comics in the early '90s and collected in a book in 1997 -- reaches that level, but it does use dream logic effectively and consistently, telling stories about its nameless brush-headed protagonist that hang together without making much logical sense or featuring anything in the way of explainable plots.

We never learn that guy's name -- my theory is that he is "Cypher" -- but we see him run through ten named stories, some which run into each other and some of which have subtler connections. None of them make direct linear sense: they're all bizarre, with our hero either explicitly going into dreams (though a job in a sensory-deprivation tank) or just being caught up in strange events and different worlds.

Teare has -- or had, in the mid-90s -- a stark, scratchboard or woodcut art style, stark black and white with precise little lines like knives. That helps sell these stories: the feel solid and grounded, as if they're carved, even as ridiculous things are happening. Cypher is a weird little book of comics, and it seems to be Teare's only comics work to date -- he's a painter these days. But, if you happen to come across it, it's amusingly quirky and attractively drawn.

Book-A-Day 2014 Introduction and Index

No comments:

Post a Comment