Monday, 13 July 2015

Illuminating 8house: Arclight #1

Or a look at the opening shot of 8house: Arclight #1
by Brandon Graham and Marian Churchland; Image Comics

Recently I've spent a lot of time kvetching about how advertisements in comics can ruin a good experience by blowing the timing of a joke, spoiling the tone of an ending, or just being insultingly pervasive. It makes me crazy. 8house: Arclight #1 is the opposite: it's a comic that eschews extraneous crap and focuses on delivering an immersive and memorable comic world. Since it's nice to highlight well made comics instead of complain about bad ones and because I think one of the choices Team 8house makes is interesting and instructive, I want to take a closer look Arclight #1.

There will be mild *SPOILERS* for 8house: Arclight #1 below.

The magic of 8house: Arclight #1 is just immersive the world is. As readers we are rapidly swept into this fantastic world of mystery, magic, and sweeping, gorgeous vistas. It's a world where we are informed by suggestion and implication, where we are invited to discover and make inferences and learn. Which, as an approach, is something I love because a fictional world that just goes about it's business while we gawk and culture shock like tourists feels so much more alive than a world detailed with exposition. 8house: Arclight is comics world building at its best.

One of the coolest things about this immersive experience is how it starts:

When you open 8house: Arclight #1 you are immediately, on the inner page of the cover, dropped right into a beautiful panorama of the world of 8house. There isn't an advertisement like a Marvel or DC comic sitting there asking for attention. There isn't a title credit page or recap article. Just a double page spread that instantly transports you into the comic world.  It's total immersion from the very first page, and it really sets the tone for the kind of comic and kind of experience that Arclight wants to be. It's a simple choice that is incredibly effective.

Of course, this choice to avoid nagging advertisement is continued throughout the comic maintaining that wonderful sense of immersive adventure established in this opening page.

If you are looking for an immersive, fantasy adventure 8house: Arclight #1 is a comic you should check out. It's really good. That said, it might be worth waiting for the trade: I love immersive comics, but getting a pamphlet sized glimpse is just such a tease. I figure reading the entire collection will be a truly magical experience.

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