Flutter Written by Jennie Wood Art by Jeff McComsey 215 Ink Release Date: February 15–March 15, 2013 Cover Price: $14.99
Due to hit the street sometime in late February or early March, the 110-page graphic novel Flutter takes the model of a super-powered being that we’re accustomed to in comic book lore, but immerses this conceptualization in an emotional journey of gender identity and sexual orientation. This graphic novel is certain to be a confronting, but enlightening read that you will not forget.
The preview copy we obtained is the first 25 pages of the graphic novel – and I can guarantee you that it sucks you right into the story immediately. The plot makes for compelling (and thought-provoking) reading as creators Jennie Wood and Jeff McComsey commence a journey that examines societal views on gender issues, with the remaining pages sure to be an important social commentary – as well as entertaining.
On a personal level, coming across this publication is a timely moment for me. I am acquainted with a very good friend who is on a transgender journey of their own. The first I learned of the journey from my friend, I found it challenging (not a negative reaction), but eye-opening. The turmoil within and courage of people on these journeys continue to astound me, and I find myself incredibly fortunate and blessed to be along with my friend for this ride. I have learned a great deal indeed. And I am very open about knowing that I have a lot more to learn.
However what I have also learned of is the very real fear felt by many on similar paths who are haunted with the possibility – AND the reality – of exclusion, or even hatred from others. It is a painful experience – even to regard from the outside looking in.
So some of the content investigated in Flutter is not only timely for me – but incredibly heart-wrenching and emotional for me. Wood and McComsey are touching on elements that countless individuals experience on a daily basis – and I notice the exploration in this initial preview to be exciting, incredibly relevant, and magnetic.
Trust me, I’m sold. I got through the preview issue and am hungry for more. And I think you will be too.
The overall plot focuses on a young girl by the name of Lily, who is being protected by several adults with dubious and questionable motivations that remain unrevealed in the preview issue. Lily has some kind of superpower manifesting inside her, enabling incredibly strength and an impressive healing factor among others.
Following being moved around from town to town, with image and name changes, under some kind of alternative witness protection program (for lack of a better term), she comes across another girl called Saffron – and falls in love. Whilst searching for her own identity, Lily uses her powers to shapeshift into a boy to get the girl she is after… and that’s how the tale begins.
In the intervening time, she and her protectors are followed by shady looking agents, and the adults associated with her seem to also be involved in some kind of political campaign that is unashamedly anti-gay and anti-gay marriage – a factor that is sure to add further complications to the story.
For a preview issue, it’s hard to give a complete analysis or evaluation of the plot – but from what I’ve seen, the writing is fairly solid, and is successful in demanding your undivided attention. There are a few moments of confusion, where some dialogue-free frames produce silence on some scenes; but it could well be this is deliberately done for some further plot elements explored later in the book when it is finally released.
The art is of a good standard, though ink-outline heavy at times. Despite this, there is an element of innocence cast upon certain characters in specific scenes, while the questionable individuals seem to be enveloped or riveted with solid shapes (square glasses and rigid geometry). There seems to be a deliberate theme unfolding visually that may pay heavy dividends for the story as it progresses.
Where the writing and the art triumph however, is in combination. Both elements gel together magnificently in Flutter, and truly brings you into the world Wood and McComsey are creating here. There are several sobering moments that result from the comic, even in the preview, and combined with the fantastic realm of comic book powers, Flutter makes for a compelling reading experience.
I am very impressed with the preview issue (which you can also check out online), and am very much looking forward to the final publication. This is the kind of thematic exploration that is needed in contemporary graphic novels – and I think Jennie Wood and Jeff McComsey are capturing the essence of much-needed change in society with Flutter.
And this release could well prove to be the most important comic publication of the decade.