Art by Helge Vogt
Distributed by Titan Comics
Tales of the afterlife have long intrigued people. After all, the question of what happens to us after we die is one that has gone unanswered since the beginning of time and will probably go unanswered for many, many years to come. Creating answers to that question can be very comforting for some, as can the act of absorbing such ideas. Isn’t that the basis of pretty much any religion, the quest to reach a specific kind of afterlife? It’s a topic we’ve seen tackled in movies such as Beetlejuice, What Dreams May Come, The Lovely Bones, Wristcutters, Flatliners, and many more. Now, with their first issue about to come out, writers Hubertus Rufledt and Helge Vogt are spinning their own yarn about this tale in the form of the comic series Alisik.
The first issue begins by introducing us to the titular character, who was a young woman, possibly no older than a teenager, at the time of her death. She is awoken by several spirits who reside in an old cemetery and are her new companions, whether she likes it or not. Far from being sinister, it’s simply the rules of this world, and its afterlife, that bind Alisik to her grave. Should she venture too far away or encounter the rays of a sunrise, she’ll disapparate only to appear once again in her burial site that same night.
Obviously, such a change in lifestyle (no pun intended) is something that she’s going to have to get used to, which is where the other residents of her cemetery come in. Having been ghosts for longer than her, they understand how the system works, what rules are enforced, and how “life” can continue for them.
At least in this first issue, Alisik doesn’t present itself as a horror comic series. Imagine Beetlejuice but with more focus on the romance and love between the Adam and Barbara and no sign of Beetlejuice…at least not yet. This first issue simply lays down the foundation for everything that is to come without going to much into the overarching story. We understand that we’re going to learn of Alisik’s love for a living boy by the name of Ruben but there doesn’t seem to be any rush there. Rufledt and Vogt understand that the interesting portion of Alisik is the afterlife, the world that we who still breathe will never experience.
Also, while I was originally put off by the flat, uninteresting cover, the art style within is much more interesting and exciting. It’s like a mixture of Tim Burton, Stephen Gammell, Wang Zhijie, and Mark Ryden. The depth created makes each panel feel almost 3D and there’s a delightful surreal quality that hovers over the entire piece. Here are some examples:
Alisik is off to a fascinating start. With gorgeous art, charming dialogue, and a playful demeanor, it has the potential to be a wonderful story with an emotional journey.