Writer: Si Spurrier
Artist: Jonas Goonface
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Just when I thought I had my fill of trippy sci-fi after watching the FX series Legion, the new title from BOOM! Studios has redefined what I classify as surrealist fiction. Godshaper is the kind of comic that defies all storytelling conventions and offers a wildly engaging visual experience. Allow me to try and describe it, but do forgive me if my plot synopsis comes across as a bit vague. Given the unique world-building and bizarre nature of this book, it’s not your standard piece of entertainment.
After the laws of physics are suddenly wiped away in the year 1958, humans then find themselves accompanied by their own personal god. Often these deities are associated with money and power, but there is a select group of people who aren’t matched with anyone: the Godshapers. These are the hopeless outcasts of this world, and our main character Ennay is one of them. As he tries to navigate through this alternate reality, he’ll soon learn things about himself and the world he inhabits which will set him on an unexpected direction.
It certainly helps that an interview with the creators at the end of the book unpacks some of its thematic material, but really you have to experience this one for yourself in order to comprehend it. Prior to writing Godshaper, Si Spurrier put out the equally surreal and innovative Image series Cry Havoc last year. Yet whereas that book still offers traditional horror tropes from a slightly different angle, Godshaper is its own beast entirely.
None of this would be possible however without the precision and merged aesthetics of artist Jonas Goonface (yes that’s his name in the book). Much like the work of Jamie McKelvie in the popular Image series The Wicked and the Divine, Goonface combines hipster counterculture with classic mythology. Yet what makes his work unique here is that it’s more cartoonish and exaggerated, foregoing the usual sense of realism that’s seen in a lot of horror and fantasy books today. Again, it’s something you’ll have to see for yourself.
Personally I’m more of an optimist and a person of faith; but nevertheless I can’t help but enjoy a weirdly cynical story such as the one here. Godshaper has all of the weird eccentricities that you’d expect from a comic like this, and if you like this kind of bizarre storytelling I’d recommend giving it a try.
KEVIN SCHEMER for Ultimate Comics