All That We See or Seem
Writer: William Wismer
Artist/Letterer: Jamie Chapman
Publisher: Bleeding Quill Comics
A review by Amelia Wellman
She runs. Through the darkness, she runs. From a monster, she runs. So far, she keeps just out of its reach. So far, she stays just one step ahead. So far. So far. All That We See or Seem is a standalone short story from the madmen at Bleeding Quill Comics.
All That We See or Seem should be a familiar phrase, if it’s not, go read some poetry. C’mon. Better yourself. The title of this eerie standalone comic is a quote from one of my personal favourite Edgar Allan Poe poems A Dream Within a Dream. Can’t go wrong there.
As for the story itself, it follows a girl through her dreams where a terrifying monster is chasing her. Just before the monster gets her each time, she wakes up, and then we’re treated to bits of the real world and what exactly is happening. The back and forth story telling of going into a dream and waking up from it is interesting. Getting little snippets of the waking world and what’s happened there dispersed with the metaphorical and symbolistic nature of the dreams helps tell the story without weighing down the panels with too much text or over-explaining. I love when comics let me find my own way to end, to deduce exactly what happened, and All That We See or Seem lets you do that.
The artwork of All That We See or Seem is kind of rough, some parts are a little digitally amateurish. The water effects are the biggest offender of this. For one page the water could have used some polish, a little refining; but given that the overall look of the comic was going for a hazy, indistinct, ethereal dream-like quality, it’s not completely off tone, just something that was a little distracting at the time. And All That We See or Seem makes up for it in other places. There are interesting things being done with the panels and the colouring on the last page is great, a really memorable way to cap the story.
Check it out. A little rough around the edges, with some artistic effects that fall flat and a spelling error or two, but filled with the passion and charm that big comics usually lack, All That We See or Seem is a short, one-shot indie comic that, for two dollars on comiXology, should definitely be experienced at least once.