“Today is a dark day, Harriet.”
Have more dread-filled, haunting words ever been spoken inside the pages of a comic book? Well, quite probably, yes – but put in context it’s a brilliant example of the quirky and original characters found in Rachael Smith’s comic ‘I Am Fire’ which is now available to pre-order on her Etsy page.
The comic follows gobby teenager Jenny who’s plunged into two weeks of sheer hell as the work experience kid in the crafts section of the local department store, E. Dingle & Co. Pleading for her good behaviour from the very first panel, her mother has pulled strings to get Jenny in somewhere. All is going very boringly and destructively at the shop until Jenny lays eyes on Chris, an equally grumpy teenager with a love of setting things on fire. He’s been placed with the local fire safety awareness group, Remember About Fire (RAF) in an effort to mend his ways.
The best thing about Smith’s style of storytelling is the ease in which she can flesh out a character just by having them interact with others; a novel would probably involve all kinds of exposition just to help you understand a little more about them, but in this wonderfully-drawn world it’s easy just to jump right in and go with the flow. So much of comic art needs the reader to suspend disbelief before committing to the story but this diverse mix of funny and strange characters plays just closely enough to real life that there’s no need to make that logical decision; just by picking up the book (which I highly recommend you do) you’re already invested in Jenny and Chris, plus their fantastic supporting characters – Mr. Dingle is a particular favourite of mine; it’s his chilling line at the beginning of this review which is played just well enough for you to both sympathise and patronise that his own little kingdom is under threat.
‘I Am Fire’ is a funny and engaging tale of teenage rebellion and responsibility – brilliantly written and drawn – that will have readers hooked from the get-go. I urge you to read it!
Find out more about Rachael’s work at her website and if you want to get your hands on more of her work, she’ll be appearing at the following events:
5th October – Nerdfest, Nottingham
25th – 27th October – MCM Expo, London