One of the first things that drew me to reMIND by Coffee Table Comics is that the cover features a young woman and her cat – and I’ll investigate pretty much anything that’s about a cat. While Sonja opens up the story for us, it’s really about the adventures of Victuals the cat. Author Jason Brubaker describes the story as:
“a mystical, sci-fi about faith, love and brain transplantation.
Sonja, the lighthouse keeper at a seaside oil drilling town, loses her cat, Victuals. Everyone blames the Lizard Man, the local boogeyman, which Sonja knows is a myth created by her late father to generate interest in the town. But when Victuals unexpectedly returns and has the brain of a strange intelligent creature; it seems someone is doing experimental transplants.
With the brain of a lizard and the body of a cat, Victuals must now fight to recover his original lizard body and confront what he thought was the all-powerful god.”
Although Brubaker is uploading the comic on a blog, reMIND definitely reads better on a site like Comixology where you can download it for free. I recommend checking it out because the art work and colors are stunning, and alone are worth the read. The first page grabbed me, and Brubaker uses a great technique of refocusing the image. In the foreground, we see Victuals hunting in the grass with Sonja climbing up a ladder in the background.
The way Brubaker showcases his art is a definite strength – the more important scenes aren’t encased in panels, but tiny moments that build upon each other are. This is rather innovative because some comics attempt to do unique things with paneling (or lack thereof) only clutter the page and make it difficult to read or understand. Not true in this case!
There’s also a great use of both light and shadows, such as when Sonja wakes up to a transformed Victuals eating at the table, with the sun pouring into the kitchen as she steps out of the shadows. Beautiful! Then, as we venture underwater to learn what happened to Victuals, and enter the world of the reptile creatures, we see his civilization encased in a dome. In this scene, we get to see the contrasting darkness of the ocean with the glowing light of Victuals’ former world.
Aside from the great artwork, the concept behind reMIND is really original, which I loved. The story focuses on a cat with an implanted lizard brain who seeks to uncover why he was betrayed before it’s too late! Even though we don’t get to see much of Sonja, we do get a taste of her personality and her relationship to her dad and the island she lives on. And what I adored most about her was how quickly she adapted to Virtuals situation instead of denying it.
reMIND is definitely a well-made graphic novel, and has already won several awards as a go-to comic for teens. Naturally, it’s an excellent graphic novel for adults as well.