My Book/Head Spun
I have always admired Jeff Lemire’s ability to make a book come alive for his readers, especially when he both writes and draws his stories. Trillium has been trippy. It was touted as the last love story ever told and it features a lot of really nifty SCI-FI themes, including inter-dimensional travel, a strange alien alphabet (with key included), trading places across millennia, and freaky cryptic space-men who seem to have the answers to all the questions. Trick is, we don’t know what the hell they’re saying.
That is until now. For the past 6 issues, Trillium has prominently featured an alien language that has been impossible to decode. We get bits and pieces from context and a little bit from a futuristic translation software embedded into one of our character’s suits, but other than that, their verse has been lost on us as the readers. But in the back of issue #7, we finally get a key to the alien alphabet, alongside a couple of short essays by Jeff Lemire and Chris Ross, who worked together to create and unlock the Atabithian Font. It was a real treat for me as a fan of in-depth art, and I’m really glad that these two included this when they didn’t have to. I haven’t yet gone through the back issues of this series and translated, but it’s on my to-do list. I’m really excited to see what questions could be answered from this series by going back and decoding all the alien text in conversation and also engraved in the architecture.
Another brilliant dynamic of this book that pushes the boundaries of the medium is the flip-book nature that is present in this issue as well as the first issue. It’s odd having to flip a book around and around in order to read it properly, and I can only imagine what an onlooker would think, seeing someone reading one page of a comic book, turning the page and then turning the book upside down. Lemire is breaking boundaries and turning us on our heads in order to tell his story and all I can say is keep it coming. He did something pretty similar to the readers of Sweet Tooth by including flip book issues that were meant to be read in a horizontal landscape in its entirety. Having the reader physically alter the way they would normally consume the media lends itself to the story, in a way. In Sweet Tooth, those flip book issues were meant to mimic a children’s book in it’s presentation, but approached a new level of irony when the subject of the issue was violent and heart breaking. Lemire and Vertigo turn the actual, physical comic book into part of the story, giving it all new meaning. Having to turn this issue of Trillium upside down and around, over and again, it makes us see the story in a new way, and gives new meaning to what’s being shown on the pages.
Like I said before, Lemire, keep this coming.