Archaia Comics is quickly becoming one of my favorite publishers. I have read a variety of their books and they always have new and interesting stories. It just so happened that the last time I was at the book store I saw this book and was immediately wondering what it was about. The cover was simple and sometimes simplicity is the key, then I actually read the premise, drugs, time travel, SOLD!
Shaun Manning is a comic creator who has kind of been under the radar. Interesting Drugs was picked up by Archaia Comics and is what Shaun is most well known for. Honestly, there is not a lot of information out there on Shaun, so that is why I asked him to do an interview. Who better to tell people about his life than himself. Check out the interview with Shaun.
This one starts out at the end with a guy named Andrew who is basically your classic college burnout. He meets a guy from the future named Tristram (who reminds of a sleazy used car salesman) who tells Andrew a wild tale about a drug that Andrew will create, a drug that is supposed to change the world. Andrew thinks this guy is just another crazy person, that is until the man actually produces some pills and forces Andrew to take them. Quickly he realizes that the man is telling the truth, and has no choice to listen to what he has to day. From there the story winds though a twisted plot as the reader is trying to figure out who is telling the truth and what is truly going on.
I liked this book as it was a very different take on the whole time travel genre, which is exactly what Shaun Manning was going for. What I thought was most interesting about the concept is if the person that takes the pills actually travels to the past, or is it all just in their mind? This is such a cool concept, as there are numerous paradoxes about travel to the past. With out getting to much into the science part, this could be a way to circumvent the whole idea. This will really get that thing between your ears moving when you start to think about it.
I liked the characters in the book, as they were easy to relate too. That is always something that can really add more depth to a story. How believable are the characters, or how easily does the audience connect and relate to them. I have always felt this way with superheroes as they are almost impossible to relate to, but most writers do a good job of giving them normal everyday problems. Another way to have relatable characters is to have just some normal blokes and have something extraordinary happen to them. This story is the latter. Andrews seems like a guy that every reader may know or have known at one time in their lives. That guy that always seems to have something strange happening in his life.
This is the first story from Shaun Manning that I have read, but I certainly love his take on time travel. In the majority of time travel stories there is always a machine of some sort, or a worm hole, or something that the individual has to travel through. Well Manning flips the script here and replaces all of the above with a pill. This is a very interesting concept as there are tons of talking points that this pill would certainly bring to the table, like how addicting would a pill like this be. I would imagine that individuals would do almost anything to get ahold of this and travel back to their past.
The artwork in this one is highly stylized. It reminds me of a sort of new age manga. I am not sure that is exactly what I mean, but it certainly reminds me of a Japanese style of art. If you have ever seen the new Thundercats cartoon, I think this artwork is somewhat similar to that, but I think this style has more of a cartoony aspect to it. When I say cartoony I do not mean in the usual sense, as I think this artwork is much more serious. This artwork is able to have the stylized aspects of a cartoony style, but filters out the almost all the goofiness that is normally associated with it. I felt the style did not hinder the story in any way, and the two matched up well in terms of tone. Both the artwork and the story are on the same page. The page layouts were mostly normal, nothing that was extraordinary here, I also noticed that there were no full page spreads, which is neither good or bad just something I noticed. The colors I did think were a bit different. I felt that everything had somewhat of a yellow tint to it. Almost the entire book was colored in Earth tones, nothing overly bright, other than this yellow sheen. The colors help set a more ominous tone for the story, which I think again helps with the artwork seem less cartoony. What I think is cool are the time travel scenes. These scenes are quite interesting because it looks like, as the reader, you are looking through some sort of fog or haze. So this aspect adds to the imagery of how the time travel works. The reader views what is happening as the actual character would, which I think is pretty cool. I cannot say that I have seen this too many times before, so it is a nice mix-up when it happens.
This one is quite interesting when you get down to the new ideas that are put forward when it comes to time travel. There are some fascinating characters that are very motivated to achieve their goals for different reasons. I recommend checking this one out if you get a chance especially if you are a fan of time travel. There are some new ideas that will certainly get you thinking.