Review: Frozen Waste
Written by Aaron Fever
Illustrated Clare Foley.
My name is Joseph.
I’ve come here to die.
These are the opening words of Frozen Waste written by Aaron Fever (Artos, Ship Wrecked) and illustrated by Clare Foley (La Grande Breteche). Two short sentences to lure the reader into the frozen waste with Joseph. Combine those words with Foley’s art and it’s hard not to follow Joseph’s tracks through the snow.
Having read some of Fever’s work on Artos and Ship Wrecked, I had expected Frozen Waste to be somewhat different to those comics. But Frozen Waste really is a quite a departure from the aforementioned comics. Frozen Waste is a much more intimate comic that focuses on a single character with other characters only appearing in flashbacks.
The writing that’s present in the comic is lean with pretty much every piece of text serving the story. This streamlined use of text really adds impact to some of the panels. The two sentences that open the comic as quoted above are good example. The minimal text allows the words of Joseph to linger in the readers mind. It allows the reader time to let the gravity of those words sink in.
Over the course of the comic the reader slowly learns of the motivation behind Josephs journey to the frozen waste. Love, loss and grief are all touched upon in the story. Fever shows he has range as a writer and is up to the task of writing a story such as Frozen Waste.
As someone that enjoyed the artwork of La Grande Breteche, it was great to have another comic illustrated by Foley to read through. In terms of artwork and storytelling, Foley really strengthens the story of Frozen Waste. There are a number of pages where the artwork is doing most of the storytelling. Some of the composition of the pages are beautiful to look at just as pieces of art in their own right. The last page is particular favourite of mine.
I did like how the colours are used within the comic. Colours are used to distinguish between Joseph in the present and his flashbacks. It’s a clever use of colour to give the readers an immediate visual cue to let them know which thread of the story they’re reading. It’s a good example of how colours can bring as much to a story as the text or line-art.
Foley also letters the comic which is clear and easily readable. It also means that the text doesn’t obscure much of the artwork as the artist and letterer are the same person. The pages have a layout that really guides the readers eye so they don’t end up on the wrong panel and somewhat spoil the reading experience.
This is a beautiful looking comic that delivers an intimate and well executed story. It’s a comic that shows there’s a variety to the stories being told and type of art within the Irish comic scene. A welcome addition to the ever expanding Irish comic library.
Frozen Waste will be launched at Small Press Day on July 8th.
Comic-loving bookworm. Scribbler of words and images.
Not Irish international soccer player.
Can be found on Twitter @Stephen_C_Ward.