Journey to Mt. Moriah by Scott, reviewed by D. Richard Scannell
Webcomic connoisseurs with an eye for stunning artwork and writing that takes chances have been joining the Journey to Mt. Moriah since its launch in early 2006. Fans of The Perry Bible Fellowship should feel right at home. JtMM is a weekly experimental webcomic featuring both single-panel and four-panel comics done using ink and a variety of coloring mediums. There are no set themes or characters per se, though the comics can generally be considered dark humor, slice of life, or just plain weird. Itâ€™s a diverse webcomic, and a quick run through the archives reveals some interesting evolution in its short history.
The beautiful watercolors will probably be the first thing to captivate you. A variety of coloring mediums have been used during the comicâ€™s existence, but creator Scottâ€™s (no last name given) loving use of watercolor is by far the most striking. His consciousness of light and shadow and his ability to maintain a restrained color palette have yielded some remarkable eye candy.
The earlier comics in JtMMâ€™s archives emphasize a dark, often grisly humor. He is most successful when using the single-panel watercolor form. Instead of a caption beneath the picture, most of the single-panel comics use a text box in the upper left. The artistâ€™s intention is clear: the real punchline lies in the carefully drawn and painted details. Roadside snipers, sperm congregating around a partially digested ravioli, and cars wrapped around telephone poles are just a few of the more memorable images.
The strip has grown more experimental with time. The watercolor remains a prominent feature, but Scottâ€™s color combinations are often more daring. The writing has grown difficult to classify -- most people would probably just call it quirky. Some comics like â€œBecome an Activistâ€ and â€œCircusâ€ blur the line between single-panel and multi-panel comics by delivering one detail-laden picture chopped into panels. Others like â€œWhat the Chickadee Sawâ€ strive simply to capture a moment of unusual beauty.
While some of Scottâ€™s best work can be found in the later comics, some of JtMMâ€™s low points happen there as well. Inevitably, some of his experiments donâ€™t work as well. â€œPeople Fightâ€ for instance, depicts a rather bewildering twist on a pillow fight in which robots pelt each other with miniature humans with bloody results. Whatever humor he was going for doesnâ€™t quite come out in the comic, though, and the computer color doesnâ€™t compare to his watercolor work. Like The Perry Bible Fellowship, some of the comics will leave you scratching your head and wondering if maybe you are missing something.
One would be foolish to let that be a deterrent though. At its best, JtMM captures moments of beauty, challenges the standards of panel-driven comics, and really makes you think. Reading through a few bewildering experiments and lackluster artistic diversions is a small price to pay for the rewards when Scott is at the top of his game. Journey to Mt. Moriah deserves mention alongside better known webcomics such The Perry Bible Fellowship and A Lesson is Learned but the Damage is Irreversible.