Vague Tales Looks like Heavy Metal Feels – Review

Creator: Eric Haven

Publisher: Fantagraphics

In order to have alternatives, you must seek out alternatives. Vague Tales is not a comic to pick up if you like comics as they are. It’s a comic to pick up to see what comics can be. They can be weird.

VagueTales2Nutshelling Vague Tales is like trying to put magma in a toothpaste tube. Vaguely, a man hallucinates a number of adventures wherein his alter ego confronts a sinister death witch. Meanwhile there are tri-planes, magic swords, sorceresses, crystalline heads, trips to the kitchen and few words to hold it all together.

The reading experience is akin to listening to heavy metal as an adolescent, not the silly faux-pagan heavy metal that we see in retrospect, but the dangerous, devil-borne heavy metal we believed it to be at the time. The story is slim. The art is eye-catching, but in an unrefined style that increases its power, like a twenty-year-old murdering a set of drums. Characters often pose and face camera, their impossible muscles rippling with too many lines. This isn’t a comic that is hiding its intentions. VagueTales3

In the end the ambiguity and the clarity of vision combine into a pleasant juxtaposition, a moment to get lost in. You won’t regret picking up Vague Tales and you won’t forget it either. A word of caution, this comic is not an intellectual exercise. It is an emotional one. Feel without thinking as the beat consumes you. Be that fourteen-year-old headbanger.

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