Friday, April 17, 2015

Retrospective: Perchance to Dream

Eight years ago.  That was when I read this comic.  Seems like a lifetime and I'm surprised it's still up, but that's a good thing, because this is one of the better comics I've ever read.

I wrote back in my original review that I wanted to rewrite Perchance to Dream.  It struck something with me and I really remembered it reading through Namesake, thus why I did that article last week.  My first thought, after conceiving of that article, was that maybe I should re-read it.  I braced myself because 8 years is a long time, and despite my memory, I kind of figured it would be disappointed in it.  I discovered not only otherwise, the comic is still pretty good, but also that I didn't want to rewrite it as much anymore.

Why I wanted to rewrite it is still clear, I want MORE.  More to the story, more to the attempt to save the world from imminent collapse.  I wanted to learn more about the world as it moved past the bounds of the fairy tales they were based on, and see Rin become even more of her own person.  I want to know what Wonderland under the iron fist of Queen Alice is like, or watch the pirate town grow, prosper and collapse.  I want to know all these things.

At the same time, though, I understand why there isn't any more.  Time begins flowing strangely almost from the get go.  It's outright stated that no location is more than 5 minutes from the next, but I suspect that it only applies to the traveler.  So when Rin gets lost leaving Wonderland (it's not quite clear in the comic, but defined in the commentary), a GREAT deal of time goes by, long enough for the pirates to build a town and Wendy and Peter to have a child.  It also means that the world takes far longer to collapse than it seems.  But everything is from Rin's point of view, so the world collapses in 3 days to her.

That time skipping, and the world in general, makes since as this is a dream world.  But it is also a tragic story as it all starts when a girl dies.  It's not quite stated why she's dying, though it's hinted that she might have committed suicide.  Or perhaps it was merely an accident, again, unclear.  But in death, Catherine creates a dream world to inhabit based on her favorite books, The Jungle Book, Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland.

Not the real ones, her versions of them.  So the characters aren't quite right, the worlds aren't quite true, and some pieces are missing (especially Mowgii from the Jungle Book).  I think they're more based on the Disney versions as well, which means it's just a bit further from the original stories.  From these roots, though, new characters grow.  Smee isn't quite the same, changing quickly as Catherine's influence leaves the world, to the point that he's different the moment we meet him.  All the characters are different, changing quickly as the girl dies and the world falls apart.

The twist on those worlds is the real draw to me, and watching the various characters change and grow into their changed worlds is where the entertainment lies.  It's the reason I want more, and I could easily see this comic lasting a very long time, rather than the scant 3 years.  Even at the end, with the survivors of Catherine's world escaping into the unknown, there is more story to tell.  Maybe I could work on a sequel instead of a straight up rewrite.

That said, I didn't say it in my original review, but there are two other comics here.  The second is a short comic called "Single Vampire" which has less story than the other two, or much of a story at all.  Reminds me a bit of some of the odder comics on Kiwi's By Beat.  Then there's "The Girl with the Golden Hair" which is a quasi-fairy tale, but doesn't finish with the moral of the story, it just stops.  And with it, the comic as a whole.  Both of the last two stories are interesting, but don't really compare to Perchance to Dream itself.

I find I respect the way the story flows in the comic more now than I probably did when I first read it.  I think the pacing is pretty good, there's just enough information to make one thirsty for more, without being strictly frustrated by it (maybe a little frustrated occasionally) and it hits the right emotional notes throughout.  The final sequence is probably the best part as Cathrine's memories, which have taken a physical, if shadowy form, save the last of her creations, but are lost in doing so.  It's fitting.  I do wonder what the author and artist (two people) are doing nowadays, if they have another comic, if they even REMEMBER this comic.  I could do some googling, but I think I'll just enjoy this comic for as long as I can.

Next week maybe a Not-So-Wild Review of a comic that I need to parse out a bit.  Maybe.  We'll see.  Until next time kiddies.

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