Heaven and the Dead City, Raine Szramski / by Spandexless


What is it about the dark side that always attracts people?

In Heaven and the Dead City, we have the tale of two cities. Zivvon is “Heaven”, a thriving, bustling center of the world. Its sister city is “The Dead City”, Tac. Some time ago, Tac was reduced to rubble but never rebuilt and everyone seems kind of okay with that. Clearly there’s some bad mojo in there. And yet people keep going over.

Chapters 1 and 2 are as far as the story has gotten, but it's clear that Szramski has big plans ahead.

Chapter 1 sets up the dichotomy of the two cities as well as that magic--or magick, if you like-–is very much a real part of this world. Then, chapter 2 brings us into Tac as a scavenger makes her way through the destruction, looking for treasures to bring back home. Along with her pilfered goods, she also comes across a giant scorpion-looking creature and a hydra. So not only is Tac dead but dangerous, too. Here is where things begin.

Raine’s artwork has an charcoal feel to it, which makes for some very moody moments. And each chapter contains a two-page spread that shows off the depth of her talents. I found myself staying on those pages admiring the detail of the illustrations.

Story wise, I was sucked in quickly and wanted to learn more about the world. Throughout the pages, Raine drops hints that something bigger is coming. I want to know what!

But in-between those hints and some well-crafted lines (“How can an empty sky be more important than the ground beneath my feet?”) there seems to be a lot of air. Some trimming here and there would help tighten up the story without losing any of the atmosphere or world building. 54 pages of set-up is a lot to ask of the reader. All comics struggle with finding the balance between an in-depth set-up and rushing into the story too quickly and right now this leans a bit towards the "too much set-up" side. But all will be forgiven if the action picks up in chapter 3.

TL;DR Raine Szramski is setting up a world with lots of intrigue in Heaven and the Dead City and I hope the next chapter starts paying off the solid foundation she’s established.

Heaven and the Dead City is written and illustrated by Raine Szramski and published weekly online through CO2 Comics. The first volume is also available for pre-order in HC and Paperback for release at the end of the year.

George likes to write. A lot. He’s currently writing the ongoing comic series, Healed, for Homeless Comics and has contributed stories to several anthologies published by Elevator Pitch Press. He was also the creator behind the webseries 664-The Neighbor of the Beast. And somehow he also juggles playing guitar in his metal and punk rock bands. By day, George is a mild-mannered copywriter in the advertising world. He once put a truck on the moon.