First New Double Sized Issue of My Experience with Green Wake

30 Nov

I am starting a new series of posts. I am not quite sure how many there will be. I suspect a minimum of three and a maximum of eleven. I know that is a big difference, but it really depends on the process that I am going to have to go through. It is one that will be made up on the fly. This is going to be a series of posts on one of my favourite stories – Green Wake. I am going to be re-reading the series and trying to look back at my first encounter, how I felt and thought about the series (as best as I can remember). Furthermore, I am going to take a new approach to the many reasons why I liked the story as much as I did. Finally I am going to analyze it in (hopefully many) different aspects. These aspects will kind of depend on the situation.

For anyone that does not know, Green Wake is a comic book series that was published by Image comics. Its creators consist of Riley Rossmo (artist extraordinaire) and friend, Kurtis Wiebe (Writer). I have always liked Kurtis’ pitch on the series as, ‘”Twin Peaks” meets “The Dark Tower.” It’s a horror mystery book and it takes place in the town of Green Wake, a place where people arrive with no idea of how they got there, and there’s supposedly no way of getting out of it.’

The biggest analysis will be how it relates to me in any given way. While I know, for a couple of reasons, the underlying idea as to why the creator wrote what they did, the story is a very personal one to that of the writer. Many stories are. However, because I know the some of the underpinnings of the story, my knowledge makes me aware that his situation is completely different than any of mine. Nevertheless, the themes remain the same. My favourite thing about stories is the different ways that people can connect with them – the different themes, moods and ideas. The personal reflections that can arise from any given person, from any given story can be vast. Some people take stories for face value; others will unearth the mysteries of Oz. The purpose of this is to show you my experience with one of my favourite stories.

That was a longer intro than I intended (and it is not quite done yet). I have wanted to do this series of posts for the last couple of months. The two big problems:

1) Motivation – I had this idea to go back through the process if seeing if one of my favourite stories holds up on the second go around. With this title I have no question that it will. The other thing was to try and figure out exactly what it was about the title that got me hooked in the first place. There had to be a reason besides it being a cool, in depth and personal story.

There is, in almost every story that I grow to love, some reason for me to cherish it the way I do. My most current example running through my head is Toy Story (because I just watched it a couple of nights ago – likely for the 60ish time). This got me as a kid that imagined and played with my toys just as the way the main character, Andy, does with his. I understood that amazement and joy that took place when you make a cardboard box into a spaceship. In my case it was a half rotten pumpkin, a couple of days after Halloween, which turned into an evil layer for my G.I. Joes to have epic battles in. In this case I could directly relate.

With Green Wake it is different. The idea of the story is not as clean as Toy Story and it makes you question the characters motivations and why you care about them. As a young adult, the process of posing the question and then having to reflect on the story is one that I have grown to appreciate. I do not need things tied up into a nice bow at the end. I like to question the motivations and actions of the characters to see if I can relate to what their situation might be like.

Which brings me to my second problem:

2) How to go about these series of posts – Ever since I can remember, I have engulfed myself in fantasy worlds. I think that is why I love Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Comics how much I do. That idea of being someone else, something else, and somewhere else has always ridden in the back of my mind. Because of this, I find that my ability to define specific aspects of my imaginary worlds and spaces becomes difficult. However, while it is not a bad thing, it makes writing essays (and even stories for that matter) a bit more difficult as my mind tends to wander.

So what made me start this attempt at a series of posts relating to one specific topic? I finally just said, “Screw it,” and read issue one. From there I wrote down thoughts and ideas on themes, moods, story and art. Basically whatever popped into my head. Then I just decided to start writing. Sometimes I find that is the best way. If you don’t know, just start and hopefully you will figure it out. That is how this long intro (which has now turned into its own post) had spawned.

I don’t want to leave you with nothing after this long intro, so let’s just do what something that is common in comics – an amazing Double Sized issue!!!

Issue #1

Image

On the second reading, issue #1 grabs me right from the get go. Within the first panel I am reminded as to one of the main reasons why I liked this comic. Writer, Kurtis Wiebe, sets the status quo right off the hop. In a flashback sequence, our main character Morley says, “There’s a moment in a man’s life when he questions every decision he’s ever made.” That has got me. Like I mentioned above, that is the thing that is going to make me get this series. I’m already invested. Even though I am still fairly young (23 years – and as my grandfather says I’m in my 24th year) it is hard not to be able to connect, in some sort of fashion, with that statement.

Now, before I can continue I think I have to try and remember my feelings of my first read through. While I may not remember specifics of each reading, there are still many details that I can remember; such things as, for whatever reason, not liking Riley’s art when coming into the series. At the time my comic reading was very heavily based on superheroes. The art style with which I was accustomed was typically very clean. So coming in I was worried that the art was going to be a hindrance. I will get more into the art at a later time. But to put anyone at ease of my previous statement, I was completely wrong.

I was also coming into this series to support local talent. At the time both Riley and Kurtis were living in the same city I was. So, even though this type of story was not my usual cup of tea I thought I would give it a shot. I remember that, while I enjoyed the first issue, I was not quite sure of my whole reaction to it. It hadn’t grabbed me right off the bat. That sentence did not relate to me initially. The idea of the story was there and I eventually fell into that mindset, but on first read I was still unsure. I remember talking over a beer with a couple of my buddies and hashing out what we liked and what we didn’t. The art was still a bit jarring for me, but the world that Riley and Kurtis had created and what I had seen in issue #1 had sold me. I knew that I would give it at least two more issues.

Remembering that is funny for me. I didn’t get that sense of connection from the story from the very beginning. On second read through though, that hit me in the face with some damn force that it knocked me on my ass. When starting this process, I thought that I would read the issue and then go back and take notes on my reactions. After reading that first line, I knew that I just needed to write stuff down that instant. That idea about questioning life resonates with me all the time. Ideas started rushing in on how I could relate, and then just examples of life.

The idea of looking back on life could bring up many meanings. For me looking back always brings the notion of regret. Regret on not experienced certain things or being too afraid of something when you are younger. I can assume that the point is not to regret but to take that and learn from it. Regret and the perceived idea of looking back can form from heart-break, loss and anger; anger at yourself or even anger at others. But what I have learned, and what this comic has helped me learn is that you should not dwell on these issues. Yes, one must examine them in order to gain perspective and use them as a learning tool. However, you must not let it corrupt the mind.

I know that because I am still young and currently my experiences and tribulations are nothing compared to those of others. Nevertheless, I try to practice this lesson as much as I can so that when I am faced with a situation that seems too big to tackle, I can attempt to get past it in the correct amount of time and with the right course of action.

While at the time of the first read, I did not get much from the first issue. The second time around I am left with multiple ideas weaving in and out of my mind like fairies that are fast moving through the trees, but never seem to miss a beat. That was done with one line. There is so much in the first few pages that I think I could go on and on and on. But I am quite positive that these ideas will reintroduce themselves later on in the story.

There is the notion of fate/destiny, the time old question of what if? This story is built on the secrets of the characters. Kurtis stated on his blog “I’ve been up front that Green Wake is a huge metaphor for how I view guilt and sadness.” While this does not fall right in line with what I have been talking about for the last, as of this moment, 1828 words, it plays into my opinion on looking back at life. Regret. Guilt. Sadness. All of those things are something that you look back on and question why you did what you did, or why you felt the way you felt.

My first main conclusion on why I like the series as much as I do is the fact that, even though the metaphor and idea is set up right from the beginning, there is still some interpretation to be had. You can analyze it and make your own deductions. It is not a story that is spoon fed to you. While there is a clear story that is being told, you can see it how you see it. I wish I could remember the exact thing that I may have been dealing with at the time to remember why I enjoyed this story so much. But looking back on it now, I know I have many things that I could put in its place. The bigger question now is, did I learn anything from them? Hopefully in future issues we will arrive at something that proves I have.

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