Saturday, April 28, 2012

Ballad

The macabre can be beautiful. Other than that, it's hard to pin down any description of this comic. It includes a cozy, overtly Edwardian provincial town ruled by the Lord Bogg Noir, vivisection, rebirth, a Lovecraftian library rising out of the depths of the sea, a primitive dragracer, wonderlandish poetry ad-lib and... well, i'd say "you get the idea" but no, you probably don't.
It was sad that Deadmouse, its author, cut things off, but i can venture a guess at the main reason behind the decision. Ballad, in its very scope and detail, probably became too much to handle. Every facet gained a life of its own, every episode unfolded into a separate story. Retying so many threads to continue the tale coherently seems like the work of a lifetime. Already, before its untimely end, the artwork was showing signs of fatigue, getting slightly sketchier. The complaints over the hand-lettering alone must've been more of a headache than it seemed worth.

Still, it's in the nature of many comics, sequential as they are, to be eternally unfinishable. Even without knowing the over-arching purpose of Ballad's second life and the role of anarchy under the rule of Lord Bogg, the imagery of the existing episodes is enjoyable in itself. I suppose it helps that as one whose own thinking tends toward the chaotic, i can appreciate a good scatter-plot.

I do hope at some point to figure out what a Drake worm actually is, though.

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Edit: 2016/01/28
Ballad has been offline for a year or two now. Both moderntales and deadmouse.net are down. It was partly captured by the Wayback Machine, luckily. In another decade this little omage might get another few hits and I might just decide to post all I have saved of the comic. It deserves to be seen. For now, here's just one random page, reposted completely without permission, but with the best of intentions.
Thank you for the lovely work, Deadmouse, whoever and wherever you are.

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