“This is the story of Kyoko and Ashley and their fateful meeting on a gentle summer night. Hailing from Canada, Ashley Brooks moved to Apeldoorn, the Netherlands to become a nurse. He spends his free time gardening, tending to wounded woodland critters and drinking perhaps a bit too much. His peaceful life gets a firm dose of upheaval when he encounters a confused young lady on a quiet country road. The world takes on new shapes and colors as Ashley and Kyoko become part of each others lives, discovering what it is they lost, and how they can retrieve it.”
Weaker Sides by lifemachine is another one of those thought-provoking comics that you could read over and over again and get different information from it with each read. It is important to take your time with each page as you piece together each panel and the deeper meanings they hold.
Weaker Sides is a stylized comic, and although the overall plot is very clear, the way the story is told through the art and writing can be interpreted in many different ways. In a way, this separates it from the “traditional” stylized comics, which are highly interpretable and sometimes the story is very unclear. I honestly love the way lifemachine has built this story. It’s quite remarkable.
Lifemachine uses multiple styles of writing to tell this story. There is classic comic-style-conversation between characters, and then there are poems, monologues, and more nontraditional writing that are highly stylized.
I saw one or two grammar and spelling errors throughout the entire comic that were not intentional. Lifemachine clearly takes this comic seriously and made sure that the writing was as good as the rest of their work –I’m happy to say that they were definitely successful in this area. The use of Dutch and English also added some great character to the writing, and unfortunately my Dutch is beyond rusty, so I cannot tell if there were any errors in spelling or grammar there.
Again, I mentioned that the comic is very stylized. This creates a difficult, yet unique situation for me. It is harder to critique stylized work as it is so interpretable. There are no clearly set rules that an individual has to follow in order for this type of art to work. Maybe that makes it easier, but it also might make it harder. Personally, I believe that if the artwork conveys a message, or some type of feeling for the reader (which Weaker Sides definitely does) then it is a success.
The techniques that I can discuss include the panels. Lifemachine has done an excellent job breaking away from the norm and really implementing the panels into the storytelling. The panels speak as loud as the words do, and in some cases, even louder.
The use of multiple mediums has also worked very well for this comic. They are sometimes integrated together on one page or panel, and other times they are completely separate. In both cases, they help convey the story and feelings that lifemachine is most likely striving for.
Overall, I would highly recommend Weaker Sides by lifemachine to anyone who likes comics that aren’t entirely clear, but still have a foundation set for the development of a storyline.
Lifemachine not only mixes art mediums, but also writing styles. Make sure you take each page and panel in carefully, as they all were created with a lot of thought and care.
You can read Weaker Sides by lifemachine here.