Review: Diskordia #1

Diskordia is the vessel I have chosen to use for my maiden voyage into Comixology’s indie publishing wing, Submit. Why? Because it looks fucking weird, and to quote Douglas Adams on the day I write this, which happens to be “Towel Day” (aka, a celebration of all things Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), I will do “anything for a weird life.” And as it turns out, Diskordia may just be my kind of weird. The story follows a young, apparently somewhat schizophrenic man named Jackal Black as he tries to get through his humdrum existence as an obviously under-challenged, smart-ass high school student. Unfortunately, his normal cocktail of corner-bought pharmaceuticals, which usually keeps the otherwise incessant din of bullies, annoying classmates, clueless education professionals and debilitating psychopathic hallucinations at bay, just isn’t cutting the mustard. Sounds like someone’s got a case of the Mondays!

After calling Charles Darwin a “cocksucker,” and a subsequent trip to the guidance counsellor, Black finds himself in a very Wonderland-type situation. However, instead of a cute “white rabbit” in an adorable little vest, our Jackalice is ushered into action by a knife-brandishing “white lady” in a black leather miniskirt. In the absence of a garden of talking flowers, he finds himself in a derelict bathroom of furiously-rutting teenagers, and while he doesn’t necessarily tumble down a rabbit hole, he does jump face-first into a used toilet filled with rotting fish heads. He also has his own Cheshire Cat ... but this one’s a bit more evil and rapey than you might be used to seeing. Your move, Disney!

Discordia #1Luckily for our hero, this all turns out to be a story about these recently-survived trials, which he is telling to a naked girl with an octopus on her head. As you do... Unfortunately, she disapproves of his story with a thunderous roundhouse kick, and gets ready to tell her own, which I assume will attempt to out-weird Jackal’s weird in issue two. Zaphod Beeblebrox would approve.

Like I said before, I digs me some weird. Sometimes, though, weird has a tendency to take itself too seriously, in which case, weird becomes pretentious. However, I’m happy to report that, for the most part,Diskordia is not that kind of weird. I do admit that some of the main character’s too-cool-for-schoolness comes across a bit too full of itself, and just as he calls-out some wannabe emo chick for being a wannabe emo chick, you kind of want to throttle Jackal and say, “Yeah, we get it, misunderstood teenager!” Which, okay, is kind of what I want to do to every teenager; so in a way, it works - even if unintentionally so.

Otherwise, this screwball little adventure, which scratches at the surface of surrealism more than it does excavate its depths, invites you to just roll with its brand of freaky and say (as echoed in a line from Jackal), “Sure, why not...” So don’t take the story too seriously - I mean, as much as you can take a story about Squidgirls and talking toilet-fish heads seriously. Just enjoy the trip. At the same time, you’ve gotta give the art a similar amount of ... “give.”

Diskordia has a solid anime spirit throughout, which isn’t exactly my cup of magic mushroom tea, but others might get a kick out of seeing. Otherwise, visually, this book jumps all over the place. Some of the art - particularly that which is set in the bizarre - shows hints of true brilliance, like that first page. Many people might be put-off by a demonic top-hat with colorfully acupunctured tentacle arms and a “Penis for President” campaign button, but those people are suckers! Speaking of which, this guy can draw the absolute shit out of an octopus!

As you flip along, however, you see quite a few mishmashed influences vying for dominance, which makes it all feel simultaneously over-spiced and under-polished, like it needs to figure out what it is and where it’s going. Saying that, I am interested to see where Diskordia is going, and I’ll probably continue to check the title out either on Comixology or at the creators’ website, diskordiacomic.blogspot.ca.

I can see how Diskordia made it through the Comixology Submit vetting process, which they promised would be suitably scrutinizing. It’s got a lot of potential, and its first issue definitely hit my sweet spot with a sugary tang of what-the-fuckery, for which I so often jones.

Score: 3/5

Writer: Andrew Blackman Artist: Rivenis Black Price: $2.99 Available on Comixology's Submit Release Date: 5/22/13