You guys know who Kasey Pierce is, right? I feel like if you listen to our podcast, or are up on the Michigan comics scene, you should know who she is. She has been on the Michigan comics scene for a while, first as a prominent blogger/con-frequenter/generally awesome person and then as an author selling her own stories (and still awesome). Her first published book was a collection of short horror stories called “Pieces of Madness”. If you have not picked it up yet, I suggest you stop what you are doing immediately and find this book to put those words in your eyes (click here to buy it).
A couple of months ago Kasey had a very successful Kickstarter for her new project. Through local Michigan comics publisher, Source Point Press, over $3,500 was raised for Norah, a comic book series penned by Kasey, with art and lettering by Sean Seal and cover by Jason Westlake. Now, in the interest of full disclosure (not that I hold myself any sort of standards….ever), I know Kasey. I have met her a couple times at cons and post-con events. Yes, I think she is great. No, this review is not happening because I like Kasey as a person. I have read many comics from people I know, and I have not liked all of them. If I did not like a comic, I would not review it. I am not the “everything has something good about it” kind of comic reader. Follow up comment; if anyone anywhere is putting themselves in to art and making themselves vulnerable by doing so, then they are to be commended. No not everyone is going to like everything you do, but that’s OK. This has nothing to do with this comic, so moving on.
So, Norah #1. I find the idea behind Norah incredibly intriguing. The main character (who’s name is Norah, in case you had not figured that by now), has the ability to reach people who are in comas and bring them back. Job title: Coma Fisher (not a job you’ll find tagged on LinkedIn). The book starts with you getting to see Norah at work. Clearly a lot has happened to Norah before the first page of this comic. You can tell by her general attitude when dealing with the family of the little girl she is trying to bring out of the coma. She is kind and caring with the girl who is in the coma and patient with the parents of the girl, who clearly are very excited at the prospect of this working. She also takes her job seriously. Although she shows a level of patience with the parents that I have never been able to show with anyone, she does not mince words when she feels like they might be having a negative effect on the process. After the job is over (Did she get the little girl? Guess you will have to read it to find out.) you get the sense that Norah can easily disconnect herself from what had just happened, like punching a clock. I could see where it would be easy to really be affected by being the mind-space of others and dealing with so many people who are viewing you as their last resort, but she seems to be able to just do her job and move on. I can’t imagine it was always like that, but I am pretty sure that is something you will learn about in future issues. The end of the book does give you a little bit of back story, a traumatic event that obviously is important to the person that Norah becomes. I am so excited to get to know this character more and see what she will be getting in to in the future.
No review of a comic book would be complete without talking about the art. Yes, the story is important, but if you do not have the right artist helping you tell your story and share your vision, then what’s the point? For this book I think that Sean Seal is a great choice for helping Kasey tell her story. His art is very soft, not a lot of outlines, which makes it feel more like paintings. The style also gives the story a more ethereal feel, which is so important when you are telling a story about someone that go in to another person’s mind. There is not a lot background detail, which makes you focus more on what is going on with the character’s faces and is a great way to portray emotions. The lack of background detail is also a great way to bring focus to those pages that have a great deal of detail. There are a few pages in the middle of the book, while Norah is in this little girl’s mind, that the background becomes cosmic and beautiful. Jumping from little to no background to a background with such brilliance and expanse really gives you a sense of space in the book. The cover from Jason Westlake is minimalist in style but really draws the eye graphically to what will be the tone of the book.
Alright, so, where are you going to find this book? Well, you could get your LCBS to order it for you. You could buy it directly from the publisher, Source Point Press. You could go to a convention and find the Source Point Press booth and buy it there (and if you are lucky Kasey will be there to sign it for you!). Really, what I am saying, is that you should buy this book. There is no reason not to. Well, if you hate comics then maybe that is a reason not to. But if you hate comics, then why are you here, on this page, reading this review? Are you hate reading right now? That’s weird. You’re weird.