by Curt Pires, David Rubín, and Michael Garland
Curt Pires became a name to watch for when he released Theremin through Monkeybrain Comics. The story, which looked like a secret agent tale, had so much beneath the surface. Pires proved, then, that his imagination and creativity were unique. After a bit of time since Theremin, Pires has a new series from Boom! Studios. The Fiction is a story that shares a bit with stories like Stephen King’s It or Joe Kelly’s Locke & Key. Childhood secrets have a way of finding people as adults and pulling them back into a world that they had almost forgotten. Here, Pires, with David Rubín and Michael Garland, tells the tale of a book that transported a group of kids to another world, and how it finds them much later.
It is amazing just how many stories that The Fiction seems to share some commonality with, but in no way does that undermine or belittle the tale here. Pires attacks this idea from a place of common imagination. There is an element of expansiveness to the universe, the mysteries and magic of the unknown that children experience. Like the other aforementioned works, here Pires also acknowledges this aspect of life and presents a curious book that a group of children find in an attic. So much of the setup feels like classic literature, and before long Tyler, Tsang, Kassie and Max are transported to a strange world. Diving into a book is often a mechanism used to escape the real world. Here, the creative team create a circumstance wherein the children are quite literally transported by the book they hold.
Kassie, who appears to narrate these early adventures, describes the fear of the unknown that later fades, giving way to the excitement for adventure. Pires’s script is crafted so well, capturing the experience of the children. Likewise, David Rubín’s pencils and Michael Garland’s colors come together to present a universe that is quite unique. As the worlds begin to take shape around the children, the setting is majestic and grand. The creative team has such control over the story in this issue. Readers will be swept up in the beauty and sense of curiosity on display. The magical world is filled with characters that share a likeness with many of the fabled and fictional characters readers will have read about as children. This universe seems to have some interconnectedness with all works of fiction.
But the fantasy does not stay as innocent and exciting as it begins. Soon, things begin to turn dark, and that is where the story finds the lead characters. Later in life, and now into adulthood, the book seems to have found its way back into the lives of these individuals. Kassie tracks down Max, with enough subtext to indicate that the group has separated over the years. With the reemergence of the magical text, she demands he help. There is so much development in these exchanges, and Curt Pires is to be commended for capturing the essence of these characters without doing any overt narration or explanation of the individuals in this tale.
Pires, as previously mentioned, has all the workings of a classic story archetype here, but with more than enough originality to make the pages of this first issue fly by. Paired with excellent artwork from Rubín and Garland, The Fiction is setting a high bar for itself. As the first issue concludes, the creative team offers a series of images that strike as ominous, despite how abstract some of the sequence may be. If his previous work is of any indication, Pires is setting out to take readers through a grand adventure that stretches the imagination and challenges as often as it fascinates.