Stellanova, Nick – Here and Now


Here and Now

I had a couple of people ask me at SPACE this year about the general state of physical comics. I’m really not one to ask, because I’m well aware of the fact that I’m outside of the usual trend lines when it comes to physical media (I only review physical comics, my pandemic obsession was buying movies from the Criterion Collection, my current nine bookshelves are soon going to need a tenth, etc.). My thinking is that there will always be an audience for physical media, and that that audience will ebb and flow over the years. But even if physical comics do end up dying out, comics themselves are going to be fine, and I’m 100% sure about that. Why? Comics like this, which was Nick’s freaking senior thesis for CCAD in Columbus. Meaning that Nick is technically very much still learning, and this comic still managed to be (so far, anyway) one of my favorite comics from SPACE 2024. This is the story of a woman who loses her wife to cancer. That whole process is covered quickly, but there’s more than enough to hurt: the hospital bed with the severely physically diminished wife, the open coffin with the deceased wife all dressed up but seeming artificial, and finally the closed casket that’s about to be lowered into the ground. The rest of the comic is all about grief and how you try to get through it, in a more physically fantastical setting than most. Flora goes through her days in a fog, trying to see the point in going on, and soon discovers that she’s transported to a colorful, ever-shifting second world when she expresses aloud that she “doesn’t want to be here anymore.” She gets lost in this world a few times before she finally gets a glimpse of a familiar face: her deceased wife Iris. It goes in a direction I wasn’t expecting, so that’s all you’re getting out of me in terms of the story. But as for the overall future of comics? Not that I’m putting this all on Nick (save comics or else!), but based on this and other recent comics I’ve seen, yeah, comics are going to be just fine.

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