Summer break’s here and Naomi’s dying to leave her house to meet an online friend for the first time. She travels far from the city to where he lives, but upon realizing who or what he is, she might just decide to turn back and run the hell home.
Undying Happiness by Zelkats is a unique comical story about a girl who falls in love with a clumsy immortal man, and spends the rest of her life cleaning up after his mistakes. The story has a great introduction that jumps straight into telling the reader who the characters are.
Although the introductions are great, character development is lacking. The characters don’t learn any life lessons from their mistakes, and in fact, they just keep going with what they were doing before. It can be seen as a personality flaw I suppose, but in the end, there isn’t really any strong “moral of the story.”
That being said, the longer you read the story, the more you fall in love with their comical lifestyle. One issue that comes with this story’s amazing concept though, is that you are going to get a ‘technical reader’ every now and then. Technical readers like everything to be explained to them in a very factual way. Unfortunately, Undying Happiness doesn’t offer this. The concept doesn’t scientifically make sense. That will probably deter a few readers, but the idea is not to overthink it. Don’t get stuck in the technicalities of how he regrows, or why he is immortal. You’ll just hurt yourself.
Aside from the fact that there are some rather disturbing scenes (albeit comical), I would say this comic is relatively family friendly. Naomi (main character) does have a habit of spewing out profanities, but let’s be real. You would too if you lived with a man who constantly received ‘fatal’ wounds.
In fact, I’d say she handles the fact that she lives around the most dramatic people ever, pretty well. Most people wouldn’t be able to handle the stress that she goes through.
But I guess you can boil it down to the fact that her life is sort of predictable. You know at some point something bad is going to happen. Each chapter basically guarantees a comical, unbelievable, accident.
From this, you would think each chapter could be their own individual story, something sort of like a “slice of life” comic, or similar to shows like Friends. You aren’t wrong, they can stand alone, but Zelkats has clearly thought out exactly where she wants the story to go, and how she wants it to progress. She took the time to lay out the story, and it shows, as each chapter flows smoothly into the next with great transitions.
The story, however, can get confusing as it jumps around the timeline a lot. It is really important to pay attention to the dates in this comic. One way to help with this (especially if you are not reading in bulk) is to always reread the last page of the previous chapter. This way you get a sense of what point in time you are at. You’ll understand what I mean better once you see the yearly sequences: It starts at present time, and then jumps to 13 years later. It then transitions into 11 years before, then 10 years later, and then 7 years before again. Confused? That’s why that transition page is important. It gives you a more solid grasp of where you are in the timeline.
No matter how great the comic, they all seem to fall prey to grammar and spelling errors. Undying Happiness is so close to having no errors at all, and it probably could go unnoticed if you weren’t looking for them.
In order to make a rather disturbing story seem more family friendly, Zelkats has included lighthearted humour and implemented this through ridiculously dramatic characters and –something you see in classic comedies– reoccurring humour. These are accomplished in both the writing and the art.
Zelkats also does a nice job of explaining the immortal family without compromising story flow. There are occasional areas where these explanations could have been shown through actions, but in addition to this, script has been added. In most of these cases, the art is enough to stand on its own.
Zelkats definitely has shown us what she can do with her art, and this proves how little she needs to actually tell the readers with words. She flaunts her artistic ability by making anatomy drawings look easy.
She also remains consistent in her art style from page one to where she is now. This is important for giving a professional perspective on the comic. Undying Happiness is also created in a traditional design, which adds to this professionalism.
It would be nice to see some more original backgrounds in this comic, as most of them seem to be “refurbished.” I don’t really have a problem with this, but it can create some disconnect between the art style of the characters and the background. Although backgrounds may not be the most important, it gives the artist an opportunity to be creative.
The characters are obviously the most important thing in this comic, and Zelkats does a great job creating some dramatic expressions that complement the script and fit the scenes together nicely.
These facial expressions are also used in the sequential paneling, which are done beautifully, and create another way to show just how gruesome this comic could be if it weren’t so humorous.
In conclusion, Zelkats does a great job telling a lighthearted (yet dark) story about an immortal family. I would recommend this comic to anyone who doesn’t get worked up over technicalities.
This comic offers a great storyline, but no solid end goal –you are following along with Naomi’s memories and experiences. If you like this style, I think you’ll love Undying Happiness!
You can check out Undying Happiness by Zelkats on Tapastic.