Time for another review.
This week, it’s another book I picked up while in NYCC ’15: Modern Polaxis. This book was created in total by Sutu. There is no editor listed. However, it was programmed by Lukasz Karluk, with music written by Lhasa Mencur.
As always, we’re on the Prince system: Adore means buy it, Beautiful Strange means take it or leave it, and When Doves Cry means don’t buy it.
So I was walking around the convention floor when I saw a guy holding a spiral-bound book. Smallish, almost like a notepad. He was also holding a smartphone. Intrigued, I walked a little nearer…and when he put the phone on top of the page, the image changed. That’s right, this is an augmented reality book.
Even more intrigued, I bought it.
Modern Polaxis is a comic written as a journal entry. The main character, Polaxis, believes the world we live in is a holographic projection, and that he can travel in time because of it.
The writing is very trippy. It jumps from place to place, and while there’s a story there, there doesn’t seem to be a cohesive narrative. There is a reason for this, which I won’t give away here. The main theme of the book seems to be “do drugs if you want to see trippy stuff and do some time traveling.”
The art is a bit off-putting, but not because the characters are ugly. The pages are busy: each page has a black border around it. Underneath all the art is a grid, like grid paper. On top of the grid paper is the art and words. Most of the art is in b/w, some of it is in red. A lot of stuff—words, lines of art, lines to direct the eye—is also in red. Again, the pages are very busy.
The art itself does tell a story, and it looks like Sutu isn’t much of an artist…except that he is. It just looks like he isn’t, which is part of the beauty of the book. Since they’re journal entries, the character writing the journal may not be much of an artist, and that was Sutu has channeled.
Then there’s the augmented reality. Color, animation, sound…and a more cohesive narrative and enlightening of what you’re actually reading. The words change from the physical page to the digital page of your device. You aim the camera at the page, and like magic, images and sounds almost leap off the page at you as you get a better understanding of what you’re reading.
The lettering seems to be done by hand, and as a journal, this is proper. A couple of misspellings (which I’ll let slide because of the nature of the book), and the letters aren’t always the same size, but there feels like an absolute deliberateness to it. The book is never illegible. That’s saying something if Sutu isn’t used to hand-lettering.
Again, there’s no editor, and really, I don’t think it needs one. (No, I won’t say that often.) I think if there were an editor attached, it would need to have been someone who really got what was going on, what Sutu was trying to accomplish, and was totally onboard. An editor would be there to make sure the trains ran on time and that the book didn’t get too far out of hand. I think this may be an instance where an editor could have done more harm than good.
In all, this is a trippy book, made even moreso by the augmented reality layer. Definitely worth the time and money.
Final Verdict: Adore