I have read some weird books in my life, but I’m pretty sure that Winners takes the cake. Some of it made sense, but most of it didn’t. It was very artsy at times and I think that really hurt the book overall. To be clear, I don’t 100% understand this book. That’s probably some of the charm for people, but it’s really a sloppy experimental mess that ultimately doesn’t work. Your story doesn’t have to have a traditional narrative to be good. That’s just so that mass audience can consume it, but it doesn’t mean that all stories have to follow that guideline. I do think there needs to be some narrative for the reader to follow though. I can’t tell if Winners is all one story that’s just constantly shifting and changing or several narratives broken up. I’m fairly certain that it’s several narratives, but at times a few of them seemingly fit together or are just so similar that they appear that way. It’s problematic when a collection of stories fail to distinguish themselves from one another in a collection like this one.
Most of the stories have a dark and twisted ending. There’s some violence and some horror, but none of it really stands out. The art has a style to it. It’s distinct, but none of it varies which contributes to the narrative problem I just spoke of. It’s all in black and white and it manages to use the contrast quite well. At times it had a flair of this artist or that artist, but that’s so subjective that I’m not going to bother listing them all. It’s an intentionally ugly style and I definitely don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s has a lot of extra line work and its goal is never to make a character look beautiful, but rather some degree of a real person.
I didn’t hate this, but I didn’t like it either. I wanted to. I thought I would. I love weird shit and this seemed right in line with that. But after the first story the entire book really dragged. At times I felt like was reading someone’s art project for school that was cut off by a deadline. Other times it was experimental for the shake of it and while I can sometimes get behind that, I think the experiment failed here. Sadly, other times it felt pretentious and I really don’t like to say that in reviews because I think it’s thrown around a lot in reviews for comics that people don’t understand. I know I didn’t fully understand this book, but the parts that I did didn’t feel genuine. It’s a long book too so having that feeling pop up more than once was disappointing.
There’s a market for this books I’m sure. There’s someone out there that will love it and be moved by it, but it’s not me. I’m not even going to brush it off by saying, “it’s not for me” because again… it should have been. I love weird shit. The weirder the better, but this isn’t weird, this is something else.
Winners Creator: Anna Ehrlemark Publisher: Floating World Comics Price: $14.95 Format: TPB; Print
[button btn_url="http://floatingworldcomics.com/" btn_color="green" btn_size="large" btn_style="default" btn_outlined="yes" link_target="self" link_rel="" icon_left="" icon_right=""]Website[/button]