A Graphic Novel Written, Drawn, and Colored by Chandra Free
In November of last year I went to my local comic book store to pick up the week’s comics. As there were only two comics on the stand that I pick up regularly, I decided to splurge and pick up an independent graphic novel. I was looking for something new – something that didn’t fall in the same line with everything else being sold on the shelves.
As I scanned the shelves of books with multiple copies available for sale, I ran across one which had no brothers and sisters. I pulled it out to examine and immediately the cover grabbed my attention. My interests were peaked as I flipped through each page in awe of how wonderful and amazingly beautiful the art was. Wanting to find out more, I turned to the back of the book for the synopsis.
A Story Not For The Religiously Weak
Guy Salvatore is a young high school boy who’s suicidal depression over the loss of his girlfriend, Sith, is fueling the emotional impact of the story. Sith has died, although it’s never explained how; Guy has fallen into a pool of uncertainty filled with numerous bits of visual jargon that pulls at his heart strings, nearly driving him to insanity. Meanwhile in the Heavens, three Gods exist – Good God, Evil God, and Limbo God who all seem to have a relationship like normal brothers and sisters. In fact, the three Gods tend to act very clumsily when it comes it comes to doing their jobs as Gods.
All Hell breaks loose when both Good God and Evil God stumble into Guy at the graveyard his girlfriend Sith was buried, startling Guy. Why is that strange? Well, humans can’t see Gods…or at least that’s how Good and Evil God thought things were supposed to work. As the Gods try to figure this enigma out, and Guy does the tango with some interdimensional demon, events begin to unfold that all seem tie in with Guy and his deceased Sith.
Thoughts On This New Comic Adventure
The God Machine presents a new look at what deities are like. Typically when we think of Gods, we think of pure beings that are strong and confident. Even in the Greek tradition, despite their flaws, the Gods never show doubt in themselves. Free’s mythological world shows a deity-trifecta that spends more time arguing amongst themselves rather than doing their jobs. It’s almost laughable because Good God seems incapable of keeping track of her things and Evil God spends more time trying to keep his sisters life in order.
Interactions between characters are always met with random and chaotic visuals that seem to serve the author’s artistic intellect more than it does to serve the story. Is Free a lover of anime? It’s probably safe to answer in the affirmative as she toggles from her own personal (and gorgeous) artistic style to that which mirrors the Japanese. The story’s purpose is never lost though as these random acts that occur within the art help to establish the chaos that I’m sure is flowing through Guys’s mind as he copes with the death of his girlfriend.
I have to commend Chandra Free for utilizing such wonderful humor in this book as well. The story is obviously one filled with angst and intense drama, but Free found ways of subtly adding bits of ramdomity (yes, I just made up a word) that should seem out of place but work with the artistic treatment she gives to the book. Just a side note, if you ever wondered if your toothbrush hates being used as such…this book will reveal the truth.
Being only a sketch artist, I find black and white just a tad more appealing than colored. However, this book has shown me a whole new world of comic book art within Free’s incredibly talented and artistic mind. There is purpose in every single panel of every single page with no lack luster in sight. Even the layouts were done with precision and grace as each page maintains a look which represents the mood or emotion Free intended her readers to feel. If I wanted to be a color artist, I would do all I could to take lessons from Chandra Free so I could aspire to her level!
This Graphic Novel isn’t for everyone though. The story does become so chaotic that even I was unsure of what was going on at times. But for someone like me, I never stray away from the strange new worlds in comics. The story has a gothic tone to it that will turn a lot of people off and might even cause some people to think of it as worthless and unchristian-like. The book’s ending (or lack thereof) might break the deal for some readers too as TGM doesn’t follow the typical and conventional method of telling a story. There is no real “feel good” moment nor is there any happy ending in sight. By opening this book, you as a reader will be met with a few laughs but will ultimately feel and empty hole inside your literary needs. But since this is the whole point to Chandra Free’s story, I look forward to seeing what volume two of the God Machine will present.
My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
This book is so fresh and riveting that I might be developing a crush on Miss Free. She has transcended the modern age of comics and moved into the beginning of what I hope is a new era. Chandra Free has brought something to the table which is completely and utterly her. Too often do modern comic book writers attempt to create stories which do not reflect his or her own personality. Chandra Free doesn’t waver in who she is and, in fact, opens herself up for the for the world to see. The God Machine, while not for everyone, is THE BEST comic I have ever read that comes straight from the writer’s heart. Chandra Free, thank you for giving us this gem.