By Farel Dalrymple
Proxima Centauri #6 is one of the most interesting comics of recent memory. It follows a boy written so that readers are at least somewhat frustrated with him as he tries to escape Proxima Centauri and find his brother. Reading it feels unreal, in the sense that the comic itself doesn’t quite feel real. It’s ethereal. There are few points of reference to grab onto because of how deep into the fantastical sci-fi that writer and artist Farel Dalrymple takes us. The visuals are constantly changing, merging and disconnecting from the lettering with sketchy lines and differing color styles. Dalrymple puts a lot of care into line weight, as well as style. It’s a comic that needs to be looked at almost more than it needs to be read, which is a stand out quality from most of Image’s books.
It’s hard to separate the aspects of this book into writing, drawing, colors, or letters, or, to an extent, even editing. Everything changes and moves together in a way that can really only happen when one person is pulling all the strings. Farel Dalrymple is doing just that, and it’s absolutely wild. Just looking at the cover, literally each aspect is hand drawn and cohesive, right down to the price. The Image logo in the bottom right looks out-of-place because of that. Dalrymple’s seems so personal that being associated with a corporation physically looks weird. Reading this issue digitally doesn’t even feel right, in a truly gripping sort of way. Proxima Centauri looks and feels like something handmade and home crafted. It’s personal.
At the same time, it needs to be said that this comic is weird in some of the most fascinating ways. Remember the feelings you had from movies like Annihilation and 2001: A Space Odyssey– that’s sort of the vein of this story. Not knowing quite what’s going on, and the constantly changing visuals evoke those movies, and perhaps even Moebius’ artstyle. Dalrymple’s pitch of the story being about the journey and not the destination is palpable. Readers will find themselves asking themselves, likely with every page turn, what this all means, what the narrative is adding up to—instead of concerning yourself over that, enjoy the comic.
Look at how the lettering changes from print to script, or from inside a bubble, to part of the background. Watch the style change, and dive into whatever the hell happens to be floating around the background. Do the opposite of what the protagonist is doing, and enjoy the ride instead of demanding larger answers. This issue is a fresh take on the medium, and likely a great way to change pace for readers who feel that their pulls are repetitive. Proxima Centauri #1 is a joy, so long as you let yourself partake. If on a first read, you feel like you want more questions answered, read it again with this mindset and watch how your perspective changes. Dalrymple puts an old adage into practice and provides proof of concept.