by Shaun Simon, Tyler Jenkins and Kelly Fitzpatrick
What would you give, or sacrifice, to be and remain perpetually inspired. What wouldn’t you risk in order to live your most ideal fantasy life? Shaun Simon introduced readers to Neverboy in the first issue of this strange and engaging new series while withholding a lot of important information. The first issue’s format caused the second issue to spend some more time explaining to the readers. Here, in Neverboy #3, the story puts the two major characters in positions where they must make decisions about their elusive dreams and the price of obtaining them.
Maybe it was fate, maybe it was coincidence, but something seems to have led these two souls together in the universe of Neverboy. The lost imaginary friend and the desperate artist have formed an unlikely team, providing the other with something they desire. Julian has gone from the most exciting artist, inspiring young minds to pursue art careers, to the cab driver who brings them to the bar. Neverboy, on the other hand, has transitioned from trusted imaginary friend and center of a young boy’s creativity and adventures to a sad remnant hoping to create a fantasy of his own. Each has experienced a fall and the third issue explores their efforts to maintain some semblance of their former glory. The quick shift from their agreement in the second issue to the steps they each take in this chapter may further highlight some deeper commentaries on human desire and desperation.
Shaun Simon’s Neverboy is an illusive concept. The three issues that have now been released are abstract, bold and exceptionally enthralling. Simon has crafted magnificently fascinating characters and placed them within a story scenario that, as of this issue, feels wholly original. Whether the story remains an imaginative journey of fantasy, or reveals a true underlying commentary on humanity and desire remains to be seen. For now, the book falls somewhere between those two and has been captivating from the very start. While Simon has done an excellent job in drawing readers in to some of the most curious ideas, the dreamlike sensation that exists throughout each chapter is further established and conveyed through the artwork from Tyler Jenkins and Kelly Fitzpatrick. They manage to keep the book in this very difficult middle ground. Books that attempt to convey or include elements of the imagination and dream can sometimes become too loose and abstract. In doing so, the structure of the story and visual sequencing become too challenging to follow. Jenkins and Fitzpatrick toe the line, however, creating some incredible pages. Every page feels as though it is in flux, solid enough to understanding, but capable of evaporating.
In the third issue, overall there exists an element of darkness. Simon has Julian once again tasting the thrill of success and the potential of reestablishing his art career to the level that it once was. But, in order to do so, Julian must tempt and test the very rules and foundations that govern and separate the real from the imagined. At the same time, Neverboy must risk so much, and strain so much in order to try to continue his false marriage and family. Each character takes steps down this darker path in the third issue, and there is a real sense of dread and despair through the book. For each choice that the two make, the book conveys a subtle, but definitive weight. By the end of the issue, readers will be questioning whether or not these paths are worth traversing. At one point, Rachel sits with friends at a brunch as the women of the group discuss the things they have resolved to put up with in order to maintain their own comforts. One eventually states that, “We deal” as a response to the realization that they each have partners who have selfish and destructive lives that they have allowed for their own individual benefits.
Simon is exploring some seriously dark and unsettling territory in the pages of Neverboy. Somehow, the creators of this series have managed to create a story that explores the imagination and idealized realities that people have and show just how dark, isolating and tragic they can be. With excellent talent, Neverboy is surely a series to watch.