Michel Fiffe's comic, Zegas, follows Emily and Boston Zegas, brother and sister, on their journeys through the world they live in. It may sound like a pretty standard or even happy-go-lucky premise, but it is truly anything but.
Zegas #1 consists of two main stories, one about each sibling, with two short unrelated interludes drawn from Fiffe's life. It took me a while to really sort my feelings about this book, but my hesitation was truly more a product of my own insecurities than any shortcoming on Fiffe's part. He has put together a beautiful and, I suspect, brilliant book. But one of my biggest insecurities as a reader is that when I read books that classify themselves as comix, I'm somehow too "normal" to truly understand them. This is likely the product of attending an art school for a discipline outside the artistic field. This often resulted in events where my peers interpreted something as "revolutionary", "brilliant", or "deep" when I just saw, well, I wasn't quite sure.
My point in all this self-exploration is that I feel I should give a context to my abilities as a reader, in case it turns out I have fallen short of truthfully encapsulating all that Zegas has to offer. And it definitely offers a lot. Each story has it's own straightforward narrative, each easy to follow, subtly hilarious and deeply telling in it's own way. But there are also many other layers that I could clearly see, but am not entirely sure I fully comprehended.
Emily's story contains a great look into her psyche and the desperately desolate way she sees the world around her, both in the narrative and in the art. We see her workplace, her colleagues, her city and herself in the way she does and it is here that I'm sure I missed something. Boston's story takes a lighter tone overall, and is a bit more straightforward, but still gives a direct look into the underbelly of the world the live in, albeit comically. Either way, I know I will find myself combing through the pages again and again to find all the small details I may have missed on first read.
The one thing I definitely did not miss was Fiffe's gorgeous art. I would find myself not turning the page, just lingering on each panel and each scene. He draws in a simple line art that is then very loosely painted in with minimal but brilliant colors. Only what must be highlighted is featured and all else fades into the background in a monochrome that helps emphasize the main action without detracting from skill of the rest of the work. His color choices dazzled me and made me think that if I could create art, this is what I would want it to look like.
On the whole, I think I loved Zegas. I know I will be reading it again, if only to try and further isolate why. And maybe this is really where my problem lies. I'm the kind of reader who needs to dissect what I'm reading. I'm a book editor. I always need to find the why. But in a work so driven by art and subtly brilliant storytelling as Zegas is, maybe I'm just over thinking the primal, emotional response.
TL;DR Zegas #1 is a great introduction to the world of the Zegas siblings. It is a beautiful work of art and a thoroughly enjoyable story.
Zegas #1 is an exclusive print-only volume of stories related to the Zegas webcomic self-published, written and illustrated by Michel Fiffe. If you can, I would highly recommend getting your hands on one of the limited run of this book. (It is a gorgeous book and if you've read this site before, you might remember my obsession with paper). Contact the author through his website to find out more. If you can't secure one, definitely check out Fiffe's other Zegas stories online through MTV and Comicxology or on the Act-i-vate website.
A review copy of Zegas #1 as well as all review art was graciously provided to Spandexless by the author, Michel Fiffe. All copyright on the images belong to Michel Fiffe.