I Breathed A Body is a creepy conglomeration of varied influences creating an affectingly unsettling debut issue. The art effectively coveys a sense of shaky dread and it’s body horror, tech horror and supernatural horror all at once.
It’s The Social Network meets Hellraiser. When the world’s biggest influencer posts something irredeemably horrific online, the world changes in an instant. Now it’s up to his social media manager, Anne Stewart, to fan the flames of outrage and create a sensationalist campaign that rewrites the rules of “banned content.” Thus begins a carnival of lust, revulsion, desire, and disgust – all for viral videos.
I Breathed A Body #1, published by AfterShock Comics, is like some unholy mash-up of The Social Network and Hereditary directed by David Cronenberg. There’s even some of Sidney Lumet’s 1976 film Network in there as well.
Here, writer Zac Thompson takes the concept that each of us sells a little bit of our souls every time we log online – not to mention our identities – and frames it within a sort of Faustian bargain.
The story centers around Mylo Caliban, a petulant internet celebrity who’s as manic and disturbed as he is famous -which is to say: immensely – and his ambitious social media manager, Anne Stewart.
He’s enabled and she’s employed by MyCena, a billion-dollar conglomerate owned by Mylo’s father, Bramwell.
Mylo also doubles as the face of MyCena, both in advertising for the company’s biotech division that has developed a meat substitute and as the star of MyCena’s own version of The Truman Show. One that allows social media viewers an all access pass to every facet of Mylo’s life, even when his influence turns lethal.
The art by Andy MacDonald and color work by Triona Farrell expertly permeates this futuristic (or is it?) sci-fi story with a shaky patina of dread. It’s airy and gruesome with frosty blues and whites, unsettling shadows and a sanguine rosiness.
There’s also a nuanced environmental message here that underscores the horror. One that serves as a subliminal counterpoint: that besides the supernatural aspects of the story, the future that we see here isn’t too far off from where we’re already at.
In this reality, the bread — well, meat — is grown in a lab and the circuses are bloody and streaming — in more than one sense of the word. It’s body horror, tech horror, and supernatural horror all at once.
I Breathed A Body #1 is gross and intriguing in equal measures and anyone with more delicate sensibilities or Trypophobia is going to have a real hard time getting through the first issue. To everyone else, especially fans of graphic horror with a subtle psychological and philosophical bent? Highly recommended and enjoy the irony.
I Breathed A Body, is out now from Aftershock Comics. Written by Zac Thompson, art by Andy MacDonald, colors by Triona Farrell, lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, covers by Andy MacDonald and Triona Farrell, variant cover by Brent Hess and Casey Parsons, incentive cover by Trevor Henderson, edited by Mike Marts.