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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. It’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 comic’s existence, but creator Scott’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 JtMM’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 artist’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 Scott’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 “Become an Activist” and “Circus” blur the line between single-panel and multi-panel comics by delivering one detail-laden picture chopped into panels. Others like “What the Chickadee Saw” strive simply to capture a moment of unusual beauty.

While some of Scott’s best work can be found in the later comics, some of JtMM’s low points happen there as well. Inevitably, some of his experiments don’t work as well. “People Fight” 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 doesn’t quite come out in the comic, though, and the computer color doesn’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.

I agree with Unityflow

JTMM is easily the finest comic i've seen in a very long time. It only took a few strips before I knew I was going to love it. By turns funny, personal, thought provoking and not afraid to throw a few emotional punches either.

The artwork is sublime, and the writing is consistenly above par. I love the fact that he's not afraid to not be instantly understandable, and that he's not afraid to sometimes not be funny. It's bold, brave and incredibly rewarding comic. I couldn't ask for more.

Good review. In my opinion,

Unityflow's picture

Good review. In my opinion, JTMM is one of the most inventive and original comics available today. Not only that, but it has real heart and sould going on.

 

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