It’s always intriguing to read a story about the struggles of another be it fiction or real and to see how they deal with a situation. It’s interesting to see the delusions that some have to mask their problems and how they’ll inadvertently call out for help without realizing it. Prince Ambien is simple and straight forward with its story, but those same ingredients are what make the story interesting and worth reading. It’s a very quick read, but there is a lot of mental content to digest at the same time.
The story begins with a man waking up for a dream about a woman. The dream was very vivid and real to him, but he can’t remember the woman’s name. The man begins obsessing about the woman, trying to draw and paint her form. He falls back into a dream again and finds the woman crying in a forest. She’s thankful that he’s alright and mentions that she wasn’t sure she’d ever see him again, but he promises her that he’ll find a way to keep seeing her. The next day he begins typing about the experience and comes up with the idea of taking sleeping pills to speed up the process so that he can see her again. He heads to the drug store where he buys a variety of sleeping agents and heads home. Soon he begins a habit of pills in order to continue his relationship in his dreams.
Part of me interrupted this story as a man dealing with the loss of his wife/fiancé, but it could also just be dealing with someone who is depressed and lonely. The story is quick, but very well executed. While there isn’t a lot to the writing, what’s there is very fitting of the story.
The art does a lot of the work. The style is pretty basic, but it’s still very good. It’s in all black and white and lightly inked. It gives the book a ton of negative white space, but it actually plays to the style of the story. There are a ton of visual clues to the deeper story going on in the story that can be easily missed if you only pay attention to the face value of the art.
I was surprised by this story; its subject matter of depression is something that is rarely, if ever tackled in comics. While it appears to be simple, what begins as a light daydream comes crashing down to reality before the readers eyes. This story takes chances and risks that few other comics have ever done. In a lot of ways it reminded me of Dear Beloved Stranger, and that’s a good thing to be compared to.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Timothy O’Briant