Thursday, December 30, 2010

More Lucid Thoughts On Issue #2

The action visibly goes up a notch in "Lucid" #2 - the follow-up issue of the comic created by Michael McMillian (who is well-known to HBO series "True Blood" fans as vampire-hater Rev. Steve Newlin) and published by Archaia/ Before The Door.

Standard Polite Warning:
If you are not interested in SPOILERS, please do not proceed further!!

More Polite Spoiler Space.

I think this is polite enough now.

"Lucid" #2 moves forward with the continued hunt for the Pendragon. There's a take-down of a burly occult terrorist by novice mage Matthew Dee, which triggered a high-speed, sigil-hurling attempt to rescue President Monday. There's even a fair bit of violence towards the end.

What has been interesting as well, was the revelation that there is something brewing between President Monday and his young son, which has not yet been explained. I'm definitely curious about the background story on this.

I enjoyed the snarky exchange between Matthew Dee and his swarmy-looking pony-tailed advisor, Edison. Can't deny that Matt is entertaining with his witty wisecracks.

He's also very entertaining in the biceps department. Maybe artist Anna Wieszczck has the same admiration for muscley arms as I do. ;)

But wait, again.... who's Ariah? There was another small but key reference to her in issue #2. Argh. This mystery is still niggling in my mind!

I managed to get hold of Michael McMillian during this festive holiday season and he so graciously agreed to share with us more about Matthew Dee and what's coming up next in issue #3.

1. When you created the Matthew Dee character, did you depict him based on some characteristics of people you know in real life?

Michael: In some ways Matthew has been the voice for my own personal thoughts and feelings - especially surrounding the time I was crafting "Lucid". A lot of my frustrations with what I was "meant to be doing" with my life and a general sense of disenchantment with the world went into Matthew.

He's a mage who is kind of unhappy despite living this cool, secret agent life. Magic may not be enough to save him from his own personal demons, you know? As to what these are exactly will be explored further down the road, although we get hints of them in Volume 1. I've wrestled a bit with believing in what I do for a living, or if my life has meaning. That sounds a bit heavy, but I think that's a feeling most people can relate to!

2. In Issue #2, Matthew Dee seems to be generally down in spirit. Is this going to affect how he goes about his adventures in the next two issues?

Michael: Yes, especially after President Monday gets shot in issue #2. Matthew feels like a failure going into issue #3. His emotions start to blind him to the bigger play at hand.


Michael McMillian (pic by Mabes)
3. Will you be doing a glossary or chart for the sigils that were drawn in"Lucid" Volume 1 so far?

Michael: I keep getting this request, which is great. They do have meaning. If Archaia and Before the Door are behind it, I'd love to do something like this. Let's see if we get greenlit for a second series first!

(@syzzlyn: Hear that Archaia/ BTD? -- Second Volume of "Lucid" pleeeeease!!)

4. Any other hints for what's going to happen in "Lucid" #3? When is that issue going to be released? 

Michael: "Lucid" #3 takes Matthew to London and he meets Wren, England's Protector of the Realm. She's a mage from the order that John Dee founded in the 16th century called, The School Of Black. It's fun pairing her up with John Dee's actual descendant, who is working for the United States.

I think readers will really like Wren. She is a character I actually thought up long before I began "Lucid". She and Matthew have great chemistry. We also get a little more insight into Matthew's past and what may have made him so cynical. Issues 3 and 4 are by far the strongest books of the series.

I really think "Lucid" hits it stride with the third issue. Anna's art is simply amazing. Look for it in January!


Overall, I find "Lucid" #2 an engaging read.

Admittedly, I'm still a little confused with what's happening so far. It feels like the second instalment of a movie trilogy where there are many sub-plots but with substantial background information missing, and we are not quite sure where we are heading towards exactly... yet.

Although this in itself is a little distracting (despite me being a fan of unstructured, non-linear storytelling), it is not a major reason for me to give up on the series.

Perhaps, it is due to how charmingly-rakish and yet troubled Matthew Dee is being written. I can't help but want to continue the "Lucid" journey with him. I want to see him triumph, in some way.

The comic was made more enjoyable because of Anna's art as well. Her rendition and colouring of some panels were different from most comics I've seen. The page on Matthew Dee trying to stop the magic bullet was an indication how well Anna was able to capture movement (even slow-mo). And her different closeup and wide-angle perspectives were notably manga-like and quite unique.

However, more so than in the previous issue, I couldn't help notice that the drawing of hands were a little odd. The proportion of the characters' hands in relation to their bodies were a tad larger. Is Anna trying to hint something about big hands? *pervy grin*

I also have to give special mention to Shawn DePasquale for his "layering" of the different voices in the high-octane action assassination attempt segment. His lettering gave that particular sequence a sense of urgency and speed. Very movie-like.

I am just hoping that the readers don't get sold-out with a story that fizzles off to some kind of "nowhere" after 4 issues. Especially if we choose to get invested in the characters and the rich, strange world that has been created for us.

Issue #3 and #4 have been pegged to pick up even more speed and characters, and if the readers continue to get involved in the "Lucid" world by then, we will want a "Lucid" Volume #2!!


For those who want more of Michael McMillian's writing, he has recently been asked to co-write the next six-issues of the "True Blood" comic by IDW Publishing. He will be writing them together with Marc Andreyko.

The "True Blood" comic will be released in February 2011, and their first story will feature young vampire Jessica Hamby (who is not in the Sookie Stackhouse books written by Charlaine Harris, BTW). After ingesting poisoned Tru Blood, Jessica goes feral on a vampire rampage.

Back to "Lucid", for those who have just entered into this magikal-spy world, you might want to get to know more about Michael McMillian. Check out our video interview series with Michael (from SDCC 2010) here:
- Lucid with Michael McMillian - Part 1
- Lucid with Michael McMillian - Part 2
- Lucid with Michael McMillian - Final Part 3

And get to know the others who are also involved with the "Lucid" comic - artist Anna Wieszczyk and letterer Shawn DePasquale.

Good news for those overseas or who are unable to get to a comic shop easily! "Lucid" #1 and #2 are now digital available on this website.

You can also "Like" the Lucid Comic page on Facebook for the latest news!
Or follow Michael McMillian or Archaia Comic's twitter feeds for more information!

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoyed Lucid #2. Action has picked up, and I really like the use of magic to protect the country. The fact that there's this whole "secret society" of magic users really intrigues me. Looking forward to the remaining issues, and hoping for a volume 2!