The Fiction seems poised to tell the story of childhood through the hazy memories of adulthood.
Published by Boom Studios!, The Fiction is one of their latest entries into the marketplace. Written by Curt Pires and illustrated by David Rubin, it centers around childhood escapism during the delicate years of adolescence. Fiction has always been one of our greatest forms of escape. Nowhere is that more prevalent than with group of curious kids. As the story opens, four young people (Max, Tyler, Tsang and Kassie) go around rummaging through some old antiques. They come across a mysterious book with the initials “TF” emblazoned on the cover. In the case of The Fiction, a book is a natural fit to be the transformative plot device; similar to the wardrobe in The Chronicles of Narnia.
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Summary & Critique:
The Fiction transports our four protagonists to another world. Through a mysterious set of circumstances one of their friends disappears inside of this fantasy world, never to be seen again. Fifteen years later that same book returns to claim a second victim.
The black gravity of the past has a way of catching up with us no matter how far we run.
With Tyler and Tsang both claimed by “TF,” it falls upon their remaining friends Max and Kassie to uncover the truth. In the context of The Fiction, “fiction” could represent a concocted array of words to describe events that never happened. For the most cynical character, Max, it’s plausible that a group of ten year old’s would fabricate tales as a coping mechanism for the real world disappearance of their friend.
For Max, these memories are a childhood rationalization. Kassie, on the other hand, works as a journalist. She’s devoted her entire life to getting to the truth of the matter. Even her big newspaper headline begins with the word “The Truth…”. In both their cases, the past is a looming specter of their lives. While one tries his best to forget, the other tries everything she can to recapture it. For this reason, The Fiction is incredibly reminiscent of Stephen King’s It. That novels deals with traumatic childhood events and how one transitions from childhood to adulthood after them.
Lording over that transition are the parents of these young children. While it’s unclear what is going on, there are some passages to suggest they have a ominous role to play. Writer Curt Pires heavily alludes to some of these sinister undertones. One gets the sense that the adults will make some decisions in the real world that close the book on their fairy tale universe. While the kids sense that something is amiss, they lack the emotional understanding to process what exactly is going on. Little do they know the domain these disturbed adults wield over them.
It was like all the seconds turned into minutes, and all the minutes turned into hours, and we before we knew it the hours had turned into days
Along with childhood memories, time is a fluid aspect of The Fiction. Anyone familiar with The Chronicles of Narnia will recognize this as “Narnian Time.” This refers to the passage of time in a fantasy world as different than that of the real one. It’s reminiscent one of those early days of childhood summer. The freedom of those months feel like years. Like any good illustrator, David Rubin makes the effort to incorporate that hazy feeling into the art of the story. Memories of childhood take on a grainy texture, much like the mental images of our past.
As we come to discover in the end, the fantasy world Max and Kassie once knew has been shattered. The main question we are left with is: Do we try to run from childhood traumas or do the traumas create the environments we escape to?
In other words, it’s possible that Max, Tyler, Kassie and Tsang created this world as a way to cope with realities of youth. It’s also possible that this fantasy world was created by those same realities. The focus for Max and Kassie moves from what they are running to… to what they are running from.
Written by: Curt Pires
Illustrated by: David Rubin
Published by: Boom!
Nick Bennett is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @TheTVBuddy