Co-Creators Writer: Dorian Alexander, Artist: Jeremy Raab
Colorist: Gabriel Fischer
Weird Trails 2021-2022
THE DANDY FOP expects admiration, and here they come in a pair. The two heretic heroes in HERETICS OF THE FATHOMLESS REALMS look like avatars for co-creators Dorian Alexander and Jeremy Raab, writer and artist, calling themselves the Lost and the Mad, sliding scene over scene on a screen like a role-playing video game billowing magic powers. The happy colors in gooey ink by Gabriel Fischer sucked me in on the first page as the tight-trousered pair hurry down a back cathedral stairway carrying a stolen phallic cactus with little pink flowers on the tips and the female owner in hot pursuit.
The boy heretics chatter during the action with the same happy lilt as the colors swirling and shifting. They captured my attention when one mentions a dreamcatcher they know is finding lately only nightmares. One can see nightmares predominate in the current collective imagination. The young heroes prefer a dream that creates a spacious lakehouse by a lake between realms; it only needs a cactus with a little flower on the tip in that one problem corner, you know the one.
Ugliness is banished from all corners in this colorful adventure despite all monsters and dungeons, undersides and crawly things that come into view. A queer aesthetic announced in the beginning tends to cast female characters in a black light, and also inserts innuendo throughout in suggestive artwork and sly dialogue. At one point it gets too much, bordering on offensive, when the outrageous monster perpetrating the offense gets blasted in the most gruesome scene in the strip. A little breathless, I was disgusted I was not disgusted, but relieved. Thank goodness.
While saving themselves, the heretics also find and rescue a bunch of imprisoned gnomes, whom they reattach with their pointy red gnome hats and set free; and this is how on the final page, while the youths pack up for a tender parting, one to home with most of the gnomes in a cart, the other to his “space” with a cutting from the cactus saved from the final melee, now a single phallus with a stubborn flower headdress and a hint of little lips and pointy eyes, there off to the side in the meadow a small group of naked-butted gnomes in and out of their pointy red hats are dancing in a circle, barely short of prancing around head down pressed together doing the rumba like something penned by the Marquis de Sade during his prison years exercising his favorite theme of virtue well chastised. Take that, you bugger.
These kids are barely short of blasphemy, and they revel in the edges and precipices they skirt. The funny part is seeing their assurance of their own superior balance, unaware they represent a common aesthetic as in any adorned suburban neighborhood where homeowners take pride in their gardens as art for all to admire, just like wizards with pen and ink.
The exuberance of youth mellows into grooves through time. For now what a delight to watch them dance to test how long they might live, like dayflies over a lake on their one brilliant day. The passion of beautiful dancers attracts everyone.
[Editor’s note: issue 2 of this title is presently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, found here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/385888986/heretics-1-2-a-masterwork-comic-of-neon-fantasy ]