A True Indie Comic
Artema is what you would call a “true” indie comic. Each issue has been made possible via Kickstarter. Now, the creators are raising funds for their third issue.
The story was developed by Rachel Cholst, a fellow contributor at Soda and Telepaths. She also does a blog and podcast for indie music called Adobe and Teardrops. The art is by Angela Boyle of flyingdodostudio.com. Boyle also runs the natural science comic anthology, Awesome Possum.
Compelling Story About Anger
The art was neat, but the story is what did it for me. As all stories that are titled with the main character, everything centers around them. Artema clearly has anger issues. Yet, she lived amongst a pacifist race of people. She often loops back to what her teacher told her, “never fight from anger.” But she was exiled for attacking the enemy. In retrospect, she says,
“Killing people isn’t fun. But it’s what Chemai’i put me here to do.”
The first issue was an origin for Artema. It builds the world she grew up in and makes you understand how she got to where she was. But the second issue introduces you to, whom I assume, are the series’ regulars. However, as a person who must live with her past, there are flashback scenes involving the characters from issue one. I like how those scenes are identified with ropes for panel borders.
Time Is A Tangled Rope
Looping back to issue one, though, I really liked how Artema’s people viewed time. This appealed to the time-travel connoisseur in me. To them, time is not as linear. It’s more like a tangled loop of string. Cholst’s line is an example of great poetry.
“They see history as a tangle – like a loop of string too long in your pocket. It echoes, it repeats, it turns back on itself.”
Unorthodox, Yet Unique
I wasn’t sure what to think about Boyle’s art style at first. But I quickly grew a liking to it. It was like a mix between Doug and The Dark Crystal. Each character and/or race had a defining feature such as their nose, skin tone, or hairstyle.
The pages were in black and white. The lack of color screamed indie. Yet, I often wondered what it would look like in color. I got my wish with the cover of issue 2 and that issue’s last page. The thank-you pages accredit the color to their kickstarter supports.
Then there was the lettering. It was kind of unorthodox. But it was unique, nonetheless. The b’s and h’s were hard to identify, though. I had to read them over to clarify what I read. She wasn’t credited, but I wonder if the letterer and the writer were the same.
Anxious To Watch The World Grow
Like I said, the story is really what sold Artema to me. The lore just builds with each installment. I can’t wait until issue 3. The first issue was dated 2018, while Issue 2 was 2019. I’m not familiar with the Kickstarter model, but going by the two dates, I assume Issue 3 will be awhile.
This was an excellent book. Though, there is still room for improvement. The art didn’t get me right off the bat. And the lettering was confusing at times. But don’t let those keep you from diving into the world of Chemai’i.
How did we rate Artema # 2: The Beast? 5 out of 6 sodas. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.