Saturday, July 16, 2016

Saturday Revue July 16: Stand Still, Stay Silent

What Do You Do When The Monsters Come?

Stand Still, Stay Silent

And Hope...

It seems like the world's always on the brink of  going to Hell. In the 20's it was the stock market crash, in the 40's it was WWII, in the sixties it was the Civil Rights abuses and the Movement that grew from them, in the 80's it was everything Billy Joel sang about in 'We Didn't Start the Fire'.  Now it's Brexit, economic downturns and civil rights abuses all over again.
But somehow, the world always makes it through disasters by the skin of its teeth.
This is the story of the day when it didn't. It's the story of the day after the end of the world, in the lands of ice, fire and forest.
This is Stand Still, Stay Silent, the creation of Minna Sundberg, and it is a thing of wonder and terror.

The Rating

A Wonder To Behold

The Raves

Let's begin with the plotting and storyline of this piece. This story explores the dystopian genre from a whole new direction, and it pulls off the feat with wit, charm, and a refreshing pragmatism.

To begin with, it's set in Iceland and rooted securely in Scandinavian ideals and mythos, which is hugely refreshing in a genre that has been dominated by baked American deserts and crumbling American super-cities.  It's been 90 years since the end of the old world. Most of the surviving population of the Known World live in Iceland, the largest safe area in existence.  The safe settlements in the other Nordic countries-Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland- are scarce.
 The tale begins in the first few days of the disastrous illness that will bring the world crashing down-you know, the stage where everybody says 'the government's just overreacting'?- and sets the stage quite nicely. Then it makes one of the most adroit suegeway passages I've seen.
That brings us to the present day, and an intreped set of explorers ready to rediscover and bring home the treasures left in the outer wastes of the Silent World. They're going to be up against some pretty tough odds too...
What I admire in the writing style is the calm, sensible pragmatism of the cultures involved. They didn't fall apart or devolve into barbarism, there's no marauders or crazy biker gangs. There is, instead, a concerted cultural drive to stick together and survive. People find ways to cope. People create a new normal. The understated 'can-do' attitude in this comic is something I really appreciated.

 It was also amusing to be given an insider's look at how the Scandinavian cultures view one another; what Americans view as a pretty homogenous group is actually teeming with little cultural differentiations for the discerning eye, amusingly pointed out by the characters and eye opening for the readers. There's a wonderful handling of getting the fact that there are multiple languages spoken across in a visual medium, not an easy feat, 

and a cast of characters you really come to think of like your siblings; amusing, ridiculous and endearing people who are just getting on with their lives.
The world building is so deftly done that you sink into the SSSS world without a ripple. The occasional page of exposition is done as a bulletin, a flyer, a page from a book, and it all belongs exactly where it is in the story.

Add to that the fact that the creator dribbles out information about the disease that brought down the world and the monsters that exist now at a tantalizingly slow rate, and you've got a great story.

And now that I've dissected the storyline in an eloquent and educated manner, let's talk about the art.
This is, hands down, one of THE MOST BEAUTIFUL  comics I have ever seen. The creator's sense of all the basics goes without saying, and they go FAR beyond that. The textures are ASTOUNDING.  The artistry here is incomparable.
And to put the cherry on the cake, the use of traditional Scandinavian folk-art suffusing the daily lives of our characters gives this comic a profound depth and organic complexity. You feel as if you could live there.

The Razzes

....yeah, I got nothing. Zip. Nada. You could say it'd be nice to know a little earlier in the story when magic came back and why, how illness connects with monsters...but that'd spoil the mystery!

The Revue

Read. It. Today.


  1. Ahem: suegeway-->segue (not to be confused with segway, which is something else entirely).

    I agree with this review 100%, confirming my view that Bad Webcomic Wiki, which trashed the comic, is populated by idiots.


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