Written and drawn by Becky Cloonan
The Mire captures one of the things that has always drawn me to medeval fantasy. The sense of the unknown, the darkness that exists just beyond the wall, over the hill, through the woods. As I write this I look out the office window and I see the cityscape, and beyond it the mountains, but I know exactly what’s on the other side of those mountains. I know what roads and trails cut through the wilderness. I know where I can find a campsite with a picnic table and a pre-made fire pit and I know full well, to my eternal dismay, that there are no abandoned castles out there waiting to be found.
In the world of Becky Cloonan’s The Mire, an unnamed medeval setting reminiscent of Arthur’s England, there are unexplored and unmapped places that could hide supernatural dangers, the kind of places where a castle could be abandoned and not discovered for years. I needn’t explain the plot here other than to say that the 28 page self-contained story follows a boy on an errand. Within those 28 pages Cloonan perfectly depicts the spirit of the young, inexperienced adventurer in over his head, the forebodingness of the unknown, and delivers some truly unsettling scares and an emotional payoff.
And the visuals! This is a damnably attractive package. It’s a mini-comic, with a silk-screened cover that’s pleasing to the touch and incredibly pleasing to the eye. The colors on that cover pop in a way that a typical mainstream comic’s colors never can. Inside is the rich, inky black-and-white that fans of Cloonan’s work on Demo will recognize and enjoy.
I recommend The Mire without caveat. Pick it up here.