The Blame is a series of experimental stories by Jon Aye from the past year. Maybe some, he may have even written through the thick of the pandemic. This is an ever-present thought that sticks to my mind. It’s especially jarring when considering the world he creates. It’s empty, save for the characters talking. No background noise; no passersby; not even buildings and landscapes as backdrops to help fill the blank spaces. This creates an air of desertion which further adds to the melancholy of the existential conversations. It’s also heavily reflective of the silence and emptiness found within the pandemic.
‘Disaster’ is probably my favorite story of the bunch. There’s something very real in everything the mother says. It also hits especially close to home for someone like me; one who has parents that left their home country in search of a better life. When you compare that to the impending future of isolation that is possible with the ongoing pandemic, there’s even more to think about. You end up realizing how similar these two experiences really are in the grand scheme of the world. All these feelings just come together and pulls you a little bit closer to your roots.
Some other stories are a little more humorous than others, adapting a sort of meme-like tone to them. The story ‘New Name’ in particular has the same kind of tone as that infamous office meeting meme. It also has some J. Jonah Jamieson talking down to Peter Parker vibes to it. But more importantly, there’s an earnest truth to it; an undeniable reality that makes you stop and think a little.
In general, the whole comic utilizes the modern culture of technology, social media, and hiding behind screens to truly commentate on the state of the world. But, perhaps its most powerful tool is how in-tune it is with its own self-awareness. It knows that writing about these topics don’t really change much, if anything at all. Yet there’s a lesson in there somewhere that if applied into reality, can have an impact of sorts. That’s just all up to the reader though. Then again, that is what society is built-on—the individualistic desire to conform, or spark change.
Against paper and mellow world of pastel pinks and blues; of simple line strokes and shapes; the typicality of the cartoon art style. Through all the calm and simplicity these come together as, there are the mundane and monotone delivery of dark humor, political satire, and deadpan realism. While the art style doesn’t change much from story to story, Aye explores different color schemes; from monochrome reds and blues, to simple blacks and whites, and then to the use of vibrant single-toned palettes. These colors become the identifiers for each specific tale at the stead of art. They are somehow more effective in creating the right tone and delivery. Each lesson and moral are unique, and the colors truly reflect their sentiments.
The Blame is wonderful. It’s simple, quiet, yet persistent. It wants to tell something, but leaves the reader enough agency to make these choices for themselves. I love the adaptability of Aye’s art that can capture multiple different scenarios with just one style. The colors spill life into monotone beats of the punchline. And overall, this is probably something a lot of people can find the simplest of pleasures out of.
Need a bit of reality check? One that’s not so harsh and still leaves you feeling like you still have a choice? Give The Blame a try. It might just be exactly what you need. You can find it over on Etsy. Hurry up and grab a copy; there’s only three left! And don’t forget to follow us over on Twitter and Instagram for amazing comic recommendations!