Lovern Kindzierski GMB Chomichuk Ed Brisson

Underworld: Greek Fantasy Meets Fear and Loathing in Winnipeg [Review]

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From Renegade Arts Entertainment and two of Winnipeg’s most successful creative minds: Lovern Kindzierski and GMB Chomichuk comes Underworld. The hardcover original graphic novel weaves a tale through the streets of their city, the mind of Hector and Homer’s mythical epic.

Hector Ashton staggers out of the St. Boniface Hospital psych ward and falls into the Red river. In his delusional state he thinks that he is Odysseys and has been swept into the river Styx. By the time Hector manages to struggle out of the river, he has washed up in the club district of Winnipeg and believes he is now deep in the Underworld. Hector will have to face the trials that Odysseus himself faced on his journey as he makes his way back to sanity, his home and family.

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Writer Lovern Kindzierksi (Shame) has crafted a jarring and intriguing crime noir tale about a man who has lost his ever-loving mind and now thinks he’s Odysseys as he travels the dark Underworld in search of his family. Little does he know, the monsters and soldiers he encounters are either crackheads, thugs or policemen on the hunt for an escaped mental hospital patient – HIM!

I’ll be honest – I wasn’t familiar with Homer’s mythical epic — I’m lazy or just don’t have much interest these days with Greek tragedies. So I think not having that knowledge, even the most basic sense of what the hell the tale is about — had a minor negative impact in how I translated Underworld. Because the story is constantly showing us Hector’s hazy and hallucinogenic perspective of his surroundings, and occasionally flashing back to reality – it’s easy to get just as lost or confused as the main character.

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Artist  GMB Chomichuk has a style that can be both entrancing and hard to handle all the same. Because the photo-realistic graphics are layered with such sharp blacks, the look of Underworld felt very unnerving and frightening even during it’s most quiet moments. I’d be lying if I said that Chomichuk’s signature style was my cup of tea, because it wasn’t at first but after I finished the book I found that it grew on me more and more. Both the art and writing compliment each other in profound ways, really hammering home a world that is blurred between fantasy and reality.

Underworld would make one batshit crazy film too. Imagine Sin City mashed up with 300 and then add a whole bunch of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas too. That about sums up my experience of this graphic novel. I’ve never been to Winnipeg, but maybe one day I’ll travel the river Styx to get there and maybe catch a glimpse or two of what Hector saw…. Or not… Hopefully not.

Rating:

Order the Graphic Novel HERE

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