What Comic Creators Can Learn From Middlewest

by Tito W. James

Middlewest by Scottie Young and Jorge Corona has been a joy to read since it hit store shelves last year. As the second arc comes to a climax I thought it would be a good time to reflect upon what makes this series special.

The Story Comes From The Heart

Too often new comics are pitched as mash-ups of pop-culture concepts. While Middlewest has its fair share of influences the father-son dynamic is personal and is inspired by real life experiences. By creating the grounded characters like Abel and his father readers are can to relate to the story even if Abel’s background and upbringing are nothing like their own.

Not Your Typical Fantasy World

Middlewest is set in a mythological Paul Bunyan-sized version of America. Southern fantasy is becoming a staple of American comics with other series like HillBilly and God Country. This is a breath of fresh air from the elves, dwarves, and dragon’s from traditional northern European fantasy. Readers turn to SciFi and fantasy to travel to a different world or see their own world from a different perspective. The world of Middlewest represents an aspect of America that’s too often overlooked.

The Art Tells The Story

It should come as no surprise that Young, as an accomplished artist himself, is able to write in a way that highlights Corona’s strengths. The dialogue is fairly sparse and never exceeds a few bubbles. However, all that is said conveys character or a nuanced double meaning. The scenes without dialogue hold just as much weight. They convey mood, presence and power. It takes craft and courage to allow the audience to read beyond the text.

I wanted to highlight Middlewest because I believe its success isn’t arbitrary. Young and Corona are telling a personal story in an original fantasy world and letting the art take center stage. Middlewest is a comic we can all enjoy and learn from.

Middlewest is available now from Image Comics.

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