Creator/s: "a loser"
Run: 5/12-current
Schedule: About once a week

Website: There isn't much, either at the Smack Jeeves site or at its ComicFury mirror. The creator commented in July 2012 about adding some extra content, but he hasn't followed through with his plans yet, and the About page on the ComicFury site has the same text as the comic's Smack Jeeves profile.

The comic's profile says the comic "updates every Sunday," but out of January's four pages, two were posted on a Wednesday, one was posted on a Thursday, and one was posted on a Saturday. The webcomic would probably benefit from the creator sticking to a more regular schedule, which may include maintaining some level of buffer.

Writing: The story begins with the sentence "I went insane when you died," and it quickly turns into a bizarre portrayal of the protagonist's damaged psyche. Brett, the 16-year-old main character who may have directly or indirectly murdered his best friend, is shown as being on mind-altering drugs, and readers are left wondering if the weird imagery's purely Brett's hallucinations, or if there's some kind of supernatural activity going on.

Like a lot of surrealistic stories, Chimerical's not particularly focused on conveying a coherent plot, instead resembling a dream (or, in this case, a nightmare) by emphasizing imagination, emotion, and memories. This comic has plenty of dark imagery, such as mutilated corpses, grotesque monsters, and warped environments, and all of the scenes have a pervasive sense of bitterness and anguish. The comic works on some level as a noir story; however, its overreliance on teenage angst limits how effective it is at conveying human experience. While Lyle's death's understandably tragic, portraying Brett only as traumatized and emotionally crippled's an overly pretentious approach, and it ends up feeling shallow and immature, like stereotypically bad emo poetry. Making Brett more well-rounded and relatable, and perhaps even having a positive emotion once in a while, would be a big step towards making Chimerical more appealing.

The comic's relatively text-heavy, and there's a lot of sophomoric banter and teasing between the characters. I personally found this kind of dialogue to be annoying, and while it's somewhat unclear if it was done like this intentionally or not, it isn't a good writing strategy. There's also too much cursing (1, 2, 3), which, I guess, is supposed to sound cool and mature, but it actually comes across as the opposite. Finally, the third strike for the writing's that the characters speak too similarly, and it's often somewhat difficult to keep track of who's talking. Writing natural dialogue isn't the easiest thing to learn, but it can make a big difference when done properly.

Lastly, in the most recent pages, a bit of a romantic subplot has begun to develop between Brett and Quinn. It's unclear how important this will be later on in the story, but it's a sure-fire way to attract some extra attention on Smack Jeeves, where boy-love comics are common.

Art: The strange, distorted visuals are the comic's main draw, and pages like this, this, and this display a rare sense of creative flair and imagination. While most of the comic's in either black-and-white or in muted colors, Chimerical's probably at its best when it utilizes its strong, abrasive coloring (1, 2, 3). The haunting, surrealistic monsters (1, 2, 3) are some of the comic's highlights, and the characters are drawn in a relatively competent and consistent manner, with figures that are anatomically correct but also stylistic.

The biggest issue with the artwork, and possibly with the whole comic, is that there are too many close shots. Most of the pages are just a series of close-ups and medium shots of Brett, which gets repetitive very quickly and does a poor job of conveying the setting. The creator needs to have more wide shots, as well as giving each scene an establishing shot. Throughout the comic, the closest panels to the latter are this one, this one and this one, and all of these panels are vague and minimalistic. Having more wide shots and backgrounds will most likely make the pages take longer to draw, but that's part of growing as an artist and being committed to producing high-quality work.

Overall: All of the young creators' webcomics I've reviewed have been underwhelming, and, unfortunately, Chimerical isn't an exception. While the comic has some bright spots, particularly with its wild, surrealistic visuals, it's clearly the work of an inexperienced cartoonist. Hopefully, the creator will continue to seek criticism and improve his work, as there's certainly potential here if he can learn to utilize his talents in a more refined manner.


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