Hey, folks. Jim here with a comic review for you.
Seth Levens is the author of Origamiac and he very graciously provided us here at Nerd News Social with a digital copy of the complete Origamiac comic book series to review. It’s been available as a graphic novel as of the 26th of August 2020.
Orson Thitchafer is our titular hero, the Origamiac. Of course, he didn’t start out that way. Was he bitten by a radioactive notebook? Or subjected to a massive blast of confetti radiation? Maybe he comes from the far off planet of Pulpton, a magnificent but dying world, as their last hope?
Nope! He’s on his way to a blind date when he’s tied to a river-bound log by a group of homicidal lumberjacks. By a strange twist of happenstance, an industrial solvent designed to permanently merge stuff is dumped on top of him and the log right before he’s swept into a paper mill. Instead of turning him into a bloody pile of wood chips and regret it turns him into a sentient sheet of loose-leaf paper.
He makes his way back to his home, an apartment shared with stoner roommate, Pickle. It’s at this point that he finds out that he can fold himself into, conceivably, any form possible… so long as it’s something that can be folded out of a sheet of paper. He flexes with a paper airplane and finds out that he can turn into a small, paper-based humanoid. He decides that in order to become human again, he needs to go to MALefactory. It’s a straight-up evil corporation but it’s got a handle on the kind of dark science that’s put him in this position. Over the course of his time there he gets a job and proves himself entirely unable to do evil. He gets fired but he does, however, discover that MALefactory is the source of the solvent that turned him into this half-paper monster.
Being that evil doesn’t work out for him he instead tries embracing his friend Pickle’s enthusiasm for the idea of being a superhero. He joins a local group of vigilantes, but they’re more enthusiastic about stopping people from performing acts of minor inconvenience than evil. Not exactly the Justice League.
So, how to use his abilities to affect actual change? And maybe change himself back into an actual man? Politics, of course! He teams up with the secretary of MALefactory’s CEO to handpick a Presidential candidate and steer them through to victory in ways only a small, paper person can.
Origamiac is an interesting book with a wacky premise. The art style is made up of geometric shapes assembled into characters and posed in each panel and it’s a novel approach to illustration. The most direct comparison I can draw is to South Park, which embraces the aesthetic of construction papercraft projects but is adult in terms of content. I’ll admit that I went into the book expecting something pretty kid-friendly based on the art style, so Pickle’s characterization as a stoner threw me a bit. There are a few other adult themes present too, but nothing really explicit. (The superhero group Orry joins has a couple naked guys in it but anything too risque is pixellated.)
There’s some clever writing present, humor that made me chuckle out loud on a few occasions, some fun characters, and again, the premise is so wacky and over the top that it grabs interest handily.
Unfortunately, I definitely think that the art may put some people off. With black and white illustrations, detail is key to holding attention and getting across action, especially. This is something difficult to achieve with characters and backgrounds created with simple shapes, coupled with a very basic panel style. Compared to Manga or other black and white comics (Sin City also springs to mind.) the simplicity of this illustration method may not give the writing its due. This is not intended as outright criticism – the design aesthetic is an interesting one and thematically appropriate for an origami-centric story. If pushed further, it could yield something really unique. Creating characters and story with a set of constraints this way has yielded some innovative character designs. Maybe something to consider for future installments of Origamiac.
It’s free via Kindle Unlimited at the time of writing so if this sounds like something you’d be interested in, I encourage you to check it out Here.