I’ve known Ross Campbell for probably a little over a year now, since being introduced to his Wet Moon series in the summer of 2011. Although it’s taken me awhile, I’ve finally gotten around to reading Campbell’s Shadoweyes. Currently it’s also available in several volumes, but I’m ecstatic that Ross has made it available for new readers to access it as a webcomic.
Shadoweyes is set in the dystopian city of Dranac, a wasteland where there’s garbage everywhere and much of the planet seems to have fallen apart. The webcomic follows Scout Montana, an aspiring vigilante, who gets hit in the head with a brick after her first foray into crime fighting. Soon after, Scout begins to turn into an otherworldly creature and starts to fight criminals under her new name, Shadoweyes, thanks in large part to her new superhuman abilities.
Like many webcomics I’ve enjoyed, Campbell features characters we rarely get to see:
1. His entire cast is made up of people of color. The initial characters we meet, Scout and Kyisha, are both young black women, and it’s awesome. It’s difficult to find non-white lead characters, so if you’re interested in WOC as the stars, Shadoweyes is the perfect place to begin.
2. Diversity – there’s so much of it, it makes my heart warm. Each character is different than what you’d expect, and Campbell does a great job of painting them as people instead of caricatures or spokesperson’s for what makes them unique.
Even though Shadoweyes is about a young girl who decides to become a super hero, it doesn’t really remind me of contemporary superhero narratives. One of the key differences is that once Scout becomes Shadoweyes, she loses the ability to go back to her human form. This ability to control your identity is integral in narratives where normal people wear masks or costumes at night, but regular clothes during the day. Shadoweyes loses this ability early on, and must come to terms with her new identity as well as her new life.
For lack of a better world, I found the art adorable. Many of the characters in Shadoweyes are good-looking, everyone wears really
interesting clothing or has nice hairstyles. But it also feels very natural – like these are people you could potentially meet (or already know). This naturalness also helped paint a better picture of Dranac for me – just seeing the dead bodies, or waste, gave me chills as if I were experiencing it for myself.
Shadoweyes is a fantastic webcomic with alternative characters living in a dystopian world who are kinda normal, kinda weird but are completely incredible. Check it out.