Diskordia Review

TITLE: Diskordia
PUBLISHER: Self published on web and Comixology
Issues read: 1-6
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2010- to ongoing


1. My main takeaway on this book is that it’s structurally complex and ambitious, incorporating a self reflexive postmodern sensibility to the storytelling style, while also being a story with a female supporting character who wears a squid on her head and walks around naked until she’s pressured into wearing clothes in issue 4. The books epitomizes “high art meets low art”.

2. This book is ambitious and exciting! You get the sense that it’s a passion project done for the love of writing and art. There’s no sense that it was created as an exercise in “brand management” or with the hopes of a movie deal, or with a premise so simple an editor could grasp it in two seconds during an elevator pitch.

3. There’s clearly a love for the craft of comics and the process of storytelling. The closest thing to this comic that I’ve read is Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. Like Sandman, stories in Diskordia may be set in Dreams, and a range of styles and approaches are used to call attention to the process of storytelling itself.

For example, issue 2 has a prose sequence about a Swamp-Thing like vegetable creature falling in love:

Diskordia plant life vegetable prose sequence

Later, switching styles, there’s also some balloons with bits of Chibi anime art above a landscape that is perhaps evocative of expressionist art:



3.  Rivenis makes the bold decision of introducing two separate plot-lines that run through the book with no clear connection between these plot-lines until later issues. Structural complexity like this requires a lot of confidence.



1. I saw a review online that was like “the artist’s anatomy and perspective are wrong.” And my response would be “But the storytelling is great, so who cares?”

2.This page with the wall screens is interesting. I wonder exactly how it was done. I’m guessing he found photos of images from the news and ran it through some sort of Photoshop filter:

wall of images from the news from Diskordia

3. Each issue has a title chapter title displayed on a two page spread.  It’s just one of many ambitious little design things in the book. You can sense the enormous effort Rivenis is putting in.


REVIEW: This comic is reminding me that a combination of high art and low art is usually where the magic of comics happens. That combination is probably why the best books by Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, etc. work so well. An “A” rating is very high for me, personally speaking, but it’s exciting to discover a comic where this level of ambition, interesting sensibilities, and playfulness is brought to the table.

I should perhaps mention something about the self publishing context. I can find virtually no discussion of this book online. I don’t know to what extent people are reading it. The few reviews online I could find appear to be mixed. On the other hand, A Kickstarter launched two days ago for the first trade paperback that looks likely to meet or exceed it’s $6,000 goal.

The books are for sale digitally on Comixology and via the author’s own web site. There is also a Patreon.

I can’t find many interviews with the author online, but one confirms my comparison to Moore and Gaiman:

9.Who are your idols? from a creative perspective

I’m not really into idolizing people because everyone is a fallible human at the end of the day. But some people I look up to as artistic inspiration are Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Jhonen Vasquez, Bryan Lee O’ Malley and Sam Keith.


Forager: the Graphic Novel review

TITLE: Forager: The Graphic Novel
STORYTELLERS: written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, art by Steven Cummings
PUBLISHER; Jet City Comics


I liked the device where they introduced the daughter and family when the daughter was 6, spent a lot of time with them,  then skipped ahead 10 years. In a different story, you could probably use this to interesting effect to show social change between generations.


I noticed artist Steven Cummings kept mixing up the layouts when given six panel pages to draw.  This made the book more visually interesting than it could have been, though there’s only so much he could do when the script gave him pages and pages of characters sitting around talking about exposition.

Family sitting around talking from the comic Forager


I googled the history of this book.  The internet tells me “840 backers pledged $27,043″ but I think the comic was mostly made before the Kickstarter was done, so the Kickstarter didn’t fund the production.

The book was Kickstarted as an “All ages book” but I read the main theme as being about two parents worried about their daughter, and the book largely took the adult’s point of view, so it doesn’t seem like a book with a lot of kid appeal to me.  All ages to me means a story with themes that will appeal to kids and adults, not just “This story doesn’t happen to contain sex or violence”.

I was bored by this comic.  The characters are thin. There isn’t much conflict to speak of, we’re told some events are occurring on a cosmic scale, but it’s largely done through dialogue infodumps informing us of events off panel, and it never feels important.

I’m not in principle against an optimistic science fiction book without a lot of conflict.  But it would be best to approach it with some better character beats and more visual storytelling ideas.  (This story largely consisted of people standing around chatting, or at least felt like it did, with the dialogue scenes drowning everything else out).

As usual when I don’t like a book it’s not hard to find almost universal praise on the Internet:

“Both my kids and I loved it! The story is incredible, full of mystery, and excitement!” says some guy on Amazon.
“I would certainly recommend Forager to anyone over the age of 12. Launch yourself into the unknown with a copy of Forager!” writes a more easily entertained blogger.
Some of the review on Goodreads were more uneven.