Girrion depressed me. Something about all the ancient massive machines. It made me feel small and inconsequential. I imagine this is how the troll-doll like Gunflins feel as well, toiling day by day amongst magnificent relics of a bygone era that they will never fully understand. The idea that something could be both so familiar yet so foreign would leave me downcast and likely in a persistent existential crisis. At least in our world, no matter how complex a man made machine is, there is at least one person who can explain it to me. There appears to be no such comfort in the realm of Gania.
The first issue of Girrion introduces Gania and its mostly stumpy denizens. The Gunflins are somehow equally abhorrent and adorable. Their excited hairstyles suggest there is a great deal of ambient static electricity on the derelict, formerly interstellar warship they call home. However, the only thing I would expect these miniature men to be at war with are offensive odors, considering the size of their shnozzolas. Any given Gunflin is 15 - 20% nose. These facial monoliths make their already small eyes look especially beady. I swear that I am giving a fair and accurate description, yet I still feel like a bully.
Anyways, our hero, Jarra, is as grotesquely disproportionate as his Gunflin kin, sporting a magnificent troll-doll up-fro. Enticed by an opportunity to see the tall, slender and altogether unGunflin-like princess, the usually diligent Jarra and his mischievous friends ditch work to eaves drop on the official council proceedings. The princess seeks the counsel of the Dwarlin Edlers (that is how it is spelled in my copy of the book), hoping these ancient sages can aid in her search for the lost empress. Unfortunately the Dwarlins have gone silent. This silence is one of many mysterious omens surrounding the visit of the princess. Her perpetually guffawed aid does not like it! Not one bit! She will be played by Tilda Swinton in the movie adaptation. The trip turns out to have not been a complete waste, as the Gunflins have discovered an artifact of alien, specifically Ngor, origin. The dialogue hints at the Ngor being a techno-organic race, whose lifeless remain are common in this realm. However, this artifact, which may be the chrysalis referred to in the subtitle, appears to be active. The issue leaves off with the princess reaching out to the glowing artifact.
Ancient powerful alien technology is always fun. It allows a writer to establish a set of rules for their world, and then break them whenever they please. Tom Lintern, the writer and artist, mentions that he was influenced by Star Wars in his Kickstarter campaign. This influence manifests as curious droids and peculiar creatures scattered about an oppressive metallic environment. I have to admit that I found the Girrion world much more reminiscent of the Dark Crystal than Star Wars. From Jarra's sheep-pig-bat pet to the chitinous Ngor tech, many aspects of this world look like Jim Henson could have brought them to life in puppet form. I mean, Gunflin and Gelfling are much too similar to be a coincidence, right? Either way, the Realm of Gania offers enough novel content to set itself apart from its influences.
Girrion has lovely art, through and through. The cover art evokes a wonderfully nostalgic 1970s sci-fi aesthetic. A rusty orange dominates the palette, in stark contrast to the occasional crackles of green energy. The bizarre proportions and wild hairstyles make the character designs undeniably interesting. Especially so are the ancient Dwarlins whose aged flesh appears to melt off of their conical frames. There is an air of poverty about the starship, as even the princess is garbed in a tattered cloak. Presented among the stubby Gunflins, the princess emanates an otherworldly glamour due to her slender frame, expressive eyes and petite nose. The starship’s architecture feels modern yet familiar, which exaggerates the alien mystique of the Ngor artifact. If Lintern can breathe this much life into a dreary starship, I cannot wait to see what he can do with the rest of Gania.
Depression aside, Girrion is a good read. In fact, its ability to illicit such a strong emotional response should be celebrated. Even though this world is completely alien to me, I was able to put myself right into the Gunflins tiny shoes and feel diminished by the titanic tomb I call home. If that is not the mark of an effective storyteller, than I don’t know what is. Girrion is a delicious feast of oddities and intrigue that is well worth your time.
Girrion #1 Writer & Artist: Tom Lintern Publisher: Brooklyn Manga Price: $5.99 Format: Print/Digital Website