Mor: Feast of Fields
Sean Karemaker, Cloudscape Comics, cloudscapecomics.com, $10
Autobiographical comics have never looked quite like Sean Karemaker’s Feast of Fields. The comic features wide, hand-drawn and intensely detailed black-and-white illustrations. Karemaker shares stories from his childhood, his time at school, and his evolving relationship with his mother. A peek into his younger days shows how, as an introspective, observant and imaginative child, he navigated growing up in uncomfortable and at times intolerable spaces. Karemaker’s massive scroll-length illustrations unravel, showing just how alienation can look on a page. The characters are constantly set as tiny figures in a large setting that span neighbourhoods, blocks, and intersections of an entire house. We see him seeking refuge from isolation in places that feel more familiar: “my room was the only place where I could truly disappear. I could turn the handle on the blinds and put out the light.”
A significant portion of the comic also features his mother, and in later sections, Karemaker’s partner, Priscilla. The comic showcases the potential for family to be fundamental in combating feelings of alienation. Karemaker recalls picnicking with his mom at lunch: “she arrived early and set up the picnic with my younger brother[.] She knew that I was in need of some kind of sanctuary and she provided it for me there, in the grass.” Karemaker’s comic draws together an intersection between the vastness of our spaces, the experience of alienation, and the comfort we build within them. Overall, Feast of Fields represents the deftness of a great writer and illustrator to translate highly personal anecdotes into a valuable reading experience. A truly great read and a promising start to this autobiographical comic series.