Sweet dreams are made of…this comic?
Note: Minor spoilers follow…
Nathan Edmondson has had a pretty good career in comics so far, in that most people regard him as not only a rising star, but someone who has yet to release what may be considered a ‘bad’ comic. Perhaps this is true, and with The Dream Merchant, his streak continues. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this series, but having read much of Edmondson’s previous work, I imagined it would be yet again, some compelling stuff. Mostly, I wasn’t wrong.
In Dream Merchant, we meet Winslow, a man who currently resides in a mental hospital and has some pretty wacky dreams. At first glance, it may seem as though this story would explore the deep meanings behind his dreams and perhaps even the nature of dreams themselves, but instead, we get the setup for an exciting thriller. We’re quickly brought into Winslow’s world by the art of Konstantin Novosadov in that the differences between the dreamscape and the real world are not very pronounced. I can appreciate the similarities as it minimizes any kind of jarring shift between the two worlds, making the dreams and dreamscapes far more organic without overdoing it. Novosadov’s art is stylized in an almost cartoonish manner, but it makes for some direct storytelling, which is appreciated.
The only area where the art tends to suffer is in some of the dark, night scenes, where things tend to get a little confusing and lack the same clarity as the rest of the book. It’s somewhat disappointing, but doesn’t minimize the overall impact of the book. The characters,though, are one of the book’s strong points. While the mysterious companion that joins Winslow and Anne later in the issue is a little off when it comes to his dialogue–it’s almost too comic-booky for my tastes–Anne herself is a fun character. But more importantly, when I found myself wondering about her actions in the issue and whether they really fit, Edmondson swoops in and gives us the details about her, explaining it all. It’s perfect timing really, and it shows that Edmondson is keenly aware of the emotions and questions he wants to incite in the reader.
The first issue of The Dream Merchant is a well done start to the series, and it’s also double the size of a regular issue! It sets up the main conflict nicely and establishes its character well, leaving us in a state of anticipation for what happens next. If you’re on the fence about this one, give it a try, as you won’t be disappointed.