A bit of a tricky one, this review. Unknowable: A Mini-Comic For Your Intuitive Self is a short by Craig S. Stuckless, and as the full title might suggest, this is a comic that is more an exercise in stream-of-consciousness, and having us as readers engage our intuition to draw meaning, rather than offering any real conventional narrative. In this respect, I may not be aptly qualified to review it, as this feels more entrenched in the world of art than in sequential narrative, merely using some of the tools of the comics medium to engage a target audience you’d be more likely to find at a gallery than your LCS. In this respect, I can only add an opening disclaimer that any criticisms could simply stem from this not being to my tastes.
What we have is a collection of images, with no dialogue (some sound effects, though), with the primary focus being a pivotal moment in a hockey game, but with various non-sequitor flashes of other events peppered throughout, casting the whole experience in an abstract light. At the end, the scene shifts entirely to a radically different setting, before coming to an abrupt close. On his website, Stuckless suggests various talking points, and gives us clues to what meaning we may derive from the piece. Some of these I must admit I didn’t get at all from reading the story. But even some of the more substantial suggestoins, such as that this is a statement about how Western society uses sport to appease the masses and distract them from acts of oppression going on elsewhere, still prove problematic.
See, in the experience I got reading Unknowable, I didn’t get a distinct impression of these two elements being linked, of sport being used to distract us from oppression. I got a glimpse of sport, then I got a glimpse of depression. Stuckless seems to have hamstrung himself by not using all the tools the comics medium opens up to him. Conflicting captions could have enhanced the synergy between the two distinct scenarios, as could a smoother transition from one scene to the other, perhaps using a match cut to link the two.
But again, I’m applying comic reader thinking to my appraisal rather than art critic thinking. Perhaps I’m just not being intuitive enough. It may have gone over my head, but you should take a look for yourself and see what you take away from Unknowable: A Mini-Comic For Your Intuitive Self. It’s available for free from Stuckless’ website, link below.
Read Unknowable: A Mini-Comic For Your Intuitive Self at www.stucklessportfolio.com.