8house 4 (October 2015)

8house #4: Yorris part one

Yorris is tiring. I wish it wasn’t. I also wish it wasn’t a published comic with an “it’s” error. But it’s both of those things–it’s tiring and it’s got an “it’s” error. And Yorris isn’t unimaginative or exhausting, let me be clear–tiring is far better than exhausting. But it is definitely tiring.

Because even though Fil Barlow’s art is careful, detailed, intricate and sometimes wonderful, the story is the kitchen sink approach to originality. Throw in so many tropes–dream creatures, an unappreciated princess (which seems to be a theme for the Brandon Graham “edited” books at Image), and taking the concept of clans to a truly obnoxious extent (working of the term “clan” into nouns)–and there’s nothing to connect with in Yorris. Barlow and co-writer Helen Maier are trying to hard to be accessible, the story doesn’t do anything else.

The back matter explains–in great detail–how Barlow and Maier used to work in animation, which might explain why the dialogue in the book is so bad. Because they’re used to having someone speak it and bring personality to it. Without a vocal performance, however, the narration is mind-boggling. The comic sets up an unbelievable proposition–this princess’s ability to see the astral plain is ignored because she’s a girl, even though she’s the only one in the clan with the gift. And there’s the implication others know of it. Or she’s just schizophrenia, which would be so much better.

I don’t want to be able to read 8house every month. I don’t want to look forward to it. I want to need to read it. I want it to be necessary. And Yorris just shows… it’s not.


Yorris, Part One; writers, Fil Barlow and Helen Maier; artist, Barlow; publisher, Image Comics.

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