“Skinned” deals with perception and reality in such a fun and engaging way that it can’t help but be captivating. Truly this is a book worthy of your attention for its ambition alone. I’ve never experienced a story so imaginatively aware of the conventions of it’s medium. It’s a challenging and fun read from cover to cover.
ART BY: Joshua Gowdy
PUBLISHER: Monkeybrain Comics
RELEASE: June 18, 2014
The world that Tim Daniel and Jeremy Holt have created here should be filled with wonder and whimsy. Yet, seeing reality as a projection isn’t enough for Aldair and Buoy. Because of this, these two characters push through the boundaries of their own world and upbringing in pursuit of something more than the “utopia” they’re given.
This is a world of subservience and order. It’s the world we’re headed towards, being shepherded by our smartphones into a herd that is consumed by the screen in front of their face. Holt and Daniel take it a step further plant the screen inside the head, which creates a whole host of solutions to reality, or problems hiding in the guise of reality if you’re Aldair and Buoy.
Joshua Gowdy should be commended for his work on this book for any number of reasons. Not the least of which is his perfect reimagining of the main characters into a seamless rendition of pop culture icons, or how he somehow can keep likenesses in check with changing everything the characters are wearing from panel to panel. Somehow this constant evolution isn’t distracting but totally holds the attention and keeps flow from page to page. In the hands of a lesser artist this would be one of the most confusing comics on the stands, but Gowdy’s work makes it easy to follow.
“Skinned” may not have been conceived as a metaphor for our obsession with technology and how it’s shaped our relationship to reality, but it certainly feels that way. It’s a beautiful deconstruction of what people have come to value as ideal and why that idealism is an inherently flawed version of reality. Reality is finite and unalterable or is it? Is the OccupEye any better or worse than our own interpretation of reality? I have a knee jerk reaction to say yes, but I could be persuaded the other way.
The narrative continues forward from the threads left dangling in issue one and the two characters align in their pursuits. We’re given horrifying glimpses of the power they’re up against and pushed forward with a fantastic pace that ends the issue with a fantastic cliffhanger that will leave you dying for issue #3.
“Skinned” is an intelligent look at perception and reality that challenges you as you read it. The themes on these pages are heavy but the art is colorful and light. It’s the perfect mixture that is a cause for celebration, it’s a comic that pushes the medium and forces you to think. What more could you ask for?