“How I Made The World” is a Xeric Award-winning comic that follows the misadventures of Liz, a college student and aspiring writer. From her vantage point, just about everything in her life is epic. And so we begin in this first issue with not just a midterm art project deadline on the horizon. No, this is fodder for our first big story, “The Monster.”
What I really like about this comic is how immersive it really is. It’s a combination of things: it has a very conversational style, the vantage points are very personal, and it never lets up, Before you know it, you’re that college kid in flip flops with your biggest concern in life being whether or not you’ll ever get into the uber-popular poetry class that is full to capacity each semester.
This is a remarkable thing, this detailed look at some fleeting moments in college. You can choose to dismiss such events in your life. Or maybe you can find yourself endlessly reliving them, as if never wanting to grow up. Or maybe you can find a better way, give that time in your life some shape and form and share it with others. That’s what Liz is trying to do. She wants this project to count for something, maybe speak for her. As all art students inevitably find out, dreams take work to bring to life. A midterm project in Liz’s ceramics class, to create a work with a seedpod theme, suddenly takes on significance.
As the reality of the work involved to do the project begins to set in, we see Liz grow beyond being a navel-gazer. Plourde and Michaels consistently deliver a window into her progress. Randy Michaels’s artwork is in step with the best in episodic autobio comics. His light mix of cartoony realism reminds me of the work of Nate Powell (review here) and Karl Stevens (review here). This is a creative team that I look forward to seeing more and more from.
And so we learn that it will take more than a barefoot walk in the park and good intentions for Liz to get what she wants. If she’s going to create art, she needs to put in the sweat time. Her best friend, Meredith, tells her as much and encourages her to work at night in the art lab. Once there, a whole new world opens up for Liz. She makes friends with Carla, a serious art student with little patience for vague notions of creating a “seedpod.” A seed, what? Liz feels inspired. If she can only fully express her vision of a seedpod, she knows she’ll make it! With Meredith’s support, Liz gets motivated. And, when she views Carla’s work, and sees what a true working artist is capable of, she knows it’s time to trust her instincts and dive into the rest of her life.
This 32-pager includes a shorter work, “Catman.” It shifts the tone to a whimsical look back at Liz as a little kid, one who is gullible to her uncle’s tall tales.
The first issue of “How I Made The World” is listed in the April edition of Previews and will be on sale in June. For more details, visit the HOW I MADE THE WORLD website here.