Book Review by Kevin Wolf
Nine Faces of Nothing (Depression Comics) is an intense mini-comic, self- published by Eli Bishop. Open to interpretation is where these nine tales begin and end. That is, all nine stories in this work are layered or not; are abstract or metaphorical; are clear or opaque; it’s up to you to find their meaning. They’re connected as pieces related to depression. Some are emotional, some are lighter, but all are thoughtful. The art/words range from minimal/wordless to detailed, not necessarily in the same story. I recommend this work which is available at the author’s website.
The characters are often unisex/ungendered and sometimes anthropomorphic. I’ll touch on a few of the stories here. It lays bare the sometimes out-of-body or inner-turmoil or controlled-by-others or on display feeling of depressive manifestations. … among many situations where one might be depressed. “Understudy” is an example of being the one working the mechanics of the outward body … but not actually feeling you are the body … under study!
And the most detailed, and likely the most autobiographical, was the “Wait” story about a half-dozen catatonic occurrences since age 11. Where Eli(?)’s mother thought it might by a hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) episode and offered honey. And later knew it had nothing to do with low sugar “I went back to being depressed in more familiar ways.” In the same story, Eli refers to one sci-fi story “Scanners Live in Vain” by Paul Linebarger, which reminds me of a scene in a story by Ray Bradbury (I can’t recall its name), where a person in space only recognizes that the person in front of him exists when that person hits him … but only for the moment he was hit. Eli concludes “Wait” with a beautifully pictured walk path to a bridge paralleling a waterway leading to a pond looking like it’s sunset—all in black and white, almost stippled—with the words: “And I’d like to stay here with you.” I hope they did. There’s also a wonderfully rendered adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft’s 1921 story “The Outsider.”
I don’t know if this work will help others who get depressed, but it might help some understand depressive manifestations. And I hope there was some benefit to the author by creating these stories. Perhaps, that’s a lesson: to write your own story … at least for yourself and possibly to share.