Sunday, October 17, 2010

Why Aren't You Reading This Comic? Templar, Arizona, by Spike

Don't lie. You really want to read this comic.

When I sat down to write about why I like Templar, Arizona, this is the only thing I was able to even write for like, an hour:

Omg. Omg. Ok. Templar, Arizona is the coolest. Thing. EVER. Oh man, you don't even know. I love it so much. SO MUCH. I would have Templar, Arizona's BABIES. I would stand outside its window with a boom-box. It. Is. The. Awesomeness.

Which is pretty pathetic, and makes Templar seem like Justin Bieber. And me seem like I'm 12.

Templar, Arizona is about as far from Justin Bieber as you can get. First of all, it isn't a person (or maybe some sort of gremlin, the jury is still out) like Justin, so that makes them pretty different right from the start. Templar also doesn't make shitty music. Also, unlike Justin, it is mature and deep and fascinating and a little dark and disturbing.

Gah! Ok, Justin, you're dark and disturbing too, just stop making that face oh god.

I'm getting the feeling I should start over.

Templar, Arizona, the webcomic, is an imaginative and vibrant tale of a city and its inhabitants, written and drawn by Spike, a lady so amazingly talented it's almost unfair. Templar, Arizona, the city, is an imaginary town in the middle of its own dust bowl that exists in an alternate reality to our own. Spike describes it as a reality in which bits of history happened differently, technology grew down a slightly different path, and things are just subtly... different. The result is a world in which the Sikh empire never ended, Nile Revisionists still worship ancient Egyptian gods and have their own Little Cairo, just about anyone can get their own tv show, and the city is dotted with clay bars, restaurants in which you can eat a puppy, completely inappropriate statues, and cafes where they'll kick you out if you speak anything less than the complete truth. Templar is full of cults, crazy subcultures, and political movements, and Spike does a great job of convincing you that they're all plausible. She has said that she's gotten e-mails from people who sincerely believed that Jakeskin (a scary cult that believes it's their duty to hasten the fall of civilization), Reclamation (a quasi-communist movement that takes over old buildings, refurbishes them, and opens them as free housing for the impoverished), or the Sincerists (a subculture in which participants vow never to tell any lies) seem likes good ideas, which she said scares her a little. I don't blame her; the Jakeskin in particular scare me to death.

Scary. As. Hell.
So what's the story, I hear you ask? Well, I'm not going to tell you, because I don't think anyone but Spike herself really knows where all this is going. I will tell you that Ben, a young man who fled his parents in Yakima under mysterious circumstances, is the closest thing get get to a main character. Ben is shy and rather reclusive, but he's forced out of his shell (more or less against his will) by his neighbor Regan, a huge woman, both literally and personality-wise. Regan has absolutly no filter between her brain and her mouth, she just does not give a fuck. She wouldn't give you a fuck if you were lieing fuckless in the desert. She just steals every scene she's in. That's her up at the top there.

Regan introduces Ben to the city and several of its inhabitants. This includes Gene, a cheerfully brain-damaged guitarist with connections (boy, are they connections) to the Jakeskin, his daughter Zora, who is already smarter than her father at six years old, and Scipio, who I just adore. He's a huge yet gentle man who practices Buddhism, wears kilts, and has a pet chicken named Flora. It's like he was made in a lab for me to fall in love with.

Yes please.
There are lots and lots of other characters. Tuesday, who dances naked on TV and her "frienemy" Curio, two privileged King Street girls constantly dueling with each other over petty bullshit (Tuesday always wins), Morgan, Ben's crush that works at a fashion magazine but doesn't care who knows how she feels about Saturn, the Elliots, two desperate guys living on the streets who happen to have the same name and recently got themselves into some deep shit, and Moze, a lovably laid back member of Gene's band who has a very high opinion of his own dick, I could seriously keep going for quite a while but I will spare you. There is just so much in Templar that it's hard not to just babble on about it forever. The thing to remember when reading Templar is to not spend too much time trying to understand it all the first time through. The comic is multi-layered and complex, and things that seem to make no sense or serve as background noise or filler take on new signifigance on a second, third, or fourth read-through. And I encourage you to read it more than once, you'll be glad you did. I love it so much that I bought the books (Spike drew me a custom picture of Regan in the front of my copy of volume 4, eee!), and I read through them over and over, at least once a month, I think. The books themselves are great because they have a section in the back where Spike explains some of the more cryptic things going on in the comic, as well as some extra drawings. If you read through the online comic and enjoy it, I highly recommend shelling out for the books. Once again, you'll be glad you did.

In conclusion, Templar, Arizona is one of the best comics on the web right now, hands down. You really need to read it. If you don't read it, we're not friends anymore. I'll just leave the link right here. Remember, our friendship depends on it.

Sunny out!

1 comment:

  1. Since I never got around to posting before, thanks for throwing this into the cyberweb where I happened to sweep it out from a corner of the ceiling!