The Best of A Softer World at Ten Years and 1000 Strips
A Softer World here on the Comic Pusher a few weeks ago in my review of Force Field Fotocomix and the inherent difficulties involved with fumetti. A Softer World by Canadians Emily Horne & Joey Comeau is a unique and beautiful exploitation of the comics form that manages to transcend what is possible with photo comics. In each three-panel strip we get a perfect melding of Comeau's verbal poetry and Horne's visual poetry, executing works of narrative art that are concise, moving and powerful.
For ten years Comeau and Horne have been publishing A Softer World several times a week, a total which will soon reach 1000 strips. Some more of their best strips are after the jump.
So many of Comeau and Horne's strips explore loss and depression. So many of their strips so perfectly capture, in a few images and a few words, the terror and hopelessness and darkness that can engulf the human soul.
They capture the way it turns one against the self, rationalizing the pain inflicted...
And the greater darkness that can seem unavoidable.
But they are just as effective at capturing the small victories that mark the transition to acceptance and treatment.
Perhaps my response to their work exploring deep sadness is rooted in my own experiences; this is not a bias but a deeper understanding and appreciation of the remarkable way they can so effectively translate the specific feel of profound depression.
Of course, not all their strips explore melancholy but can be quite funny with a brevity and interpretiveness not seen outside of the aforementioned Jack Handey.
Science fiction is best when it is used as a way to comment on some aspect of being human that might not work otherwise, and A Softer World illustrates that beautifully.
In all of these examples, we see the unique combination of the two artists' poetry. Horne manages to imagery both straightforward and elegiac, Comeau's prose the perfect counterpoint or illustration.
Their strips continue to be vibrant and original masterpieces that transcend the comic form, narrative art in its truest sense.
The full A Softer World archive can be found here. For more, including other projects from Horne and Comeau, see asofterworld.com
Update!: A Softer World has been printed in three collections so far. There's a brand new Kickstarter up for Volume 4 here.
If you are a Babylon 5 fan like me, A Softer Babylon 5 is sufficiently mind-blowing.