Why You Should Be Reading… Image Comics’ MATERIAL By Ales Kot

Welcome back everyone for another week of Why You Should Be Reading…

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Hey readers, I hope all is well and life is going groovy. I also hope you have gotten some really good comic reading in, there’s some amazing stuff hitting the shelves and no matter what sparks your interest, there should be something out there for you, you just need to take the time and find it.

That brings us to this weeks “Why You Should Be Reading” column by yours truly…..

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Truth be told I planned on writing this about a month ago, if you follow the trend I usually pick something that’s a few issues deep. Personally I just like to read things in a slight bulk, yet more so I hate waiting the month in anticipation for the next issues release.  However as I’m sure with everyone there are those particular writers that have you hooked, you just can’t wait and need the content the day it drops. Ales Kot is one of those writers for me, and he again delivers a truly heart felt piece that has had me clambering in anticipation for weeks.

Still patiently I waited…. I thought, well I need to at least see the first issue before I implore people to pick it up Right? You can’t sell something to someone before it comes out in hopes they will share your excitement can you? Even though I now have a copy of the first issue, (and it’s every bit as good as I thought it would be). I’m still going to attempt to coax you to read this based on the subject matter and comments Ales made before the comics release. As a fan, I belong to Ales’s emailing list where he sends out well written pieces keeping us up to date with his work and current projects.  The great thing is, a lot of writers do the same, yet it’s mostly along the lines of, hey guess what buy this it’s going to be awesome. Don’t get me wrong there’s nothing wrong with that, but then there are writers like Ales, who seem to send out a nicely written piece every time he sends an email. He takes you on that journey every time he sits at a keyboard, and I have the highest respect for his style, and the way he presents himself. This particular email was in regards to the situations that have been transpiring in Baltimore, along with the inner most thoughts of how Ales is reacting to the subject. He then goes into great detail as to how these situations effect him and well “us”, shaping how he approached the material project.

This brings us too Material a project that Ales states…..

“I’m sure some people will throw words like “pretentious” at it, but I’m not attempting to impress anyone by making “Material” look more important than it is. I don’t know how important it is. I just know it’s a comic I’ve been waiting to do my whole life, without knowing anything specific about it before I began writing. It feels like a purer, more personal expression of life than I’ve been able to give before.”

Those are some strong notions, and as I continue flipping through issue one, it is clear those notions have manifested through out the project. Displayed with a clear vision, carried out in such a way that makes the project feel so natural, as I sit reading I feel the obvious intensions of honesty here, and the journey is a one I enjoy taking.

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We bounce around from several different perspectives of different individuals, during these different journeys we tackle societal issues such as race, classism and the expectations given to us by society. I was impressed with how well the comic flows, despite feeling as though we are constantly transitioning between characters. As I continued to read I felt as though, Ales gets it, not entirely because this is all derived from his inner feelings, but I can’t shake the feeling he has a higher understanding some how. To tell so many stories that I would assume will connect with different audiences is something special, and I envision he is going to get deeper as we progress! As Ales guides us through each story Will tempest does a great job navigating through the 9 panel grid with ease, something Ales states he has been feeling since ZERO (see my past column on Zero) knowing Tempest could nock it out of the park. I feel the coloring is solid and the unique choice of the coloring gives the comic a different feel while displaying the images. Odd colors kind of represent the miss guided feelings some of our characters are experiencing, yet also give the comic an awkward feel that is well place considering the subject matter.

In addition to the thick “Material” (see what I did there) presented through out the story, I find it a phenomenal choice Ales decided to beef up each issue with an essay written by a writer of his choosing, in which he explains here….

“There will be essays by writers like Fiona Duncan, Sarah Nicole Prickett, Jarett Kobek and more. The essays will connect to the themes of the comic. I’m interested in featuring writers I love, giving them free rein — and letting you find them.”

I found this portion of the comic very interesting, for those who wish to dive into the inner most deepened thoughts of respected writers, this is a comic you can find refuge in. I was enamored by this concept and have seen it put to good use in the “Bitch Planet” series also by Image, (see my column on Bitch Planet). This is a great icing on the cake that is Material, by picking up this comic you are already committed to the idea of delving into subject matter that is gritty and truthful, and by taking that extra leap of faith you are given in return another piece of inner consciouses, displayed in a form of a essay, and written by someone to be respected. Perhaps during this you will be gaining another writer to watch for when looking for new content. You will also feel as though you are getting your time and money’s worth with a lasting concept you can take with you on your own personal journey after all Material is life. This gives the comic a little added special spice that makes the entire dish work and come together.

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With Material I see something dawning on the Horizon and I would hope everyone would consider picking this up. It saw its release last week so you still have time to start this movement in the beginning while its fresh. I wanted to make sure I help promote this and give as many people the opportunity to find this as I can, there is truly an outstanding work of art here, and as Ales states this may be the most important thing he has ever done. Like most outstanding things that are necessary, you might blink and it’s gone, or you might pass by without any hesitation, but as the writer Mr. Kot states….

“I want the comic to connect enough that it will render marketing obsolete. Which, considering the fluid subject matter and refusal to categorize, is the kinda shot that feels doomed on arrival — but I’m doing it nevertheless, and the reason for it is, this comic feels like something I need to do. And shouldn’t that be at the core of what art is about? To ask questions, to keep eyes open?”

Thank You all for reading this week, I hope you find something you can connect with in Material, as always I hope to see you next week as we dive into, WHY YOU SHOULD BE READING……

– Grainbelt Jones

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