Dear Ghost Factory. What Should I Read?
By: Rob Neil Gruszcki
Do you remember that time when everything was beautiful and nothing hurt?
Uma, a school girl challengers her teacher about the disregard their school’s curriculum delivers to information that could be used to lessen social anxieties or safe guard from repeating mistakes of the past. She contends that Henry Ford was a Nazi and Disney had their investments placed in the hands of fascists. A debate ensues where Anarchy is the main topic and Uma’s response is to question the intrinsic nature of such a concept. Seemingly in more than one place at once, Uma and another of this burgeoning coup storm the public school at 9:00 am holding their teachers hostage at gunpoint. Apparently the guns are not loaded and they intend no harm, instead they simply try to prove a point to the world by placing cameras around the entire premises, broadcasting the live footage to the world via social networking. Their point being that they refuse to succumb to the ‘mind-numbing’ tactics of public education in it’s attempt to form drones, hollow numbers in an endless factory draining all students of their souls or ‘magic’.
You are free. Life doesn’t make sense. It’s up to you to decide what it all means.
Events get muddled and unclear as a teacher is slaughtered, despite the assurance from the Children of unloaded weapons and the nature of the teacher’s predicament not in fact being a hostage situation, yet falls forward into a pool of blood with wounds to the face after being blown backward in the chest. An exclamation of one of the Children admits to spiking the teacher’s coffee with LSD and as the takeover gets tenser the physical forms of reality begin to deteriorate from the perspectives of the now drugged teachers. Students wander from their two-dimensional panel universes in paint splatters that drag across the page, color is removed from panels by the sheer whim of the terrorists, fourth walls are done away with and characters begin to sink deeper into the anarchic madness that is Wild Children.
Ales Kot and Riley Rossmo (Proof, Rebel Blood, Green Wake, Debris) team up to deliver a brand new Image one-shot that breaths life on every page and goes as far as to explain the very essence of reality in Wild Children. Such a mind-bending, warped expose on the nature of violence, angst and story deserves a credit for its bold and unique voice. Characters reacting to their audience (you), defining immortality within the confines of panel grids, and shifting their aesthetics in mid sentence build a brilliant comment on free will and the choices that guide you to devise your own station. Wild Children is a wildly cosmic yet humanely grounded philosophical book with words of wisdom, humor, portent and ultimately hope. Hope in the boundless energy fueling the Earth’s inhabitants and the endless potential for self-expression and creation. All that is asked is that you listen.
The creative partnership of Kot and Rossmo produce a fearless book that will hopefully be known as an essential in any comic fan’s collection next to the likes of Grant Morrison & Philip Bond’s Kill Your Boyfriend and Jonathan Hickman’s The Nightly News, both series having the same tone and turbulent trajectory, placing the reader’s confidence in fragile territory and never offering a moments respite. During a very stressful and alarming chain of events the Wild Children express their discontent with life up to this point with guns, bombs and drugs leading to an ending not without its myriad of interpretations but also one that evokes contemplation and reflection on our disaffected generation and the impending implosion of a rotting culture.
Embrace the possibility and endure the trip with this new, incredible addition into the roster of cerebral, boundary-pushing books in the comic’s medium that promises to weigh heavy on your thoughts and punish your assimilation into a virulent system without contemplation and rebellion.