Mobile phone footage of a miracle spreads across the internet. Off the coast of Mexico, sailors are swept from their fishing vessel only to be saved by a man walking on water. The world looks on… but do they see a superhero, a new Messiah, or a fraud?
The Story of Luis Aguado is a comic shrouded in mystery. In fact, we’re not even sure that “The Story of Luis Aguado” is what it’s called – that’s just the title it appears under on the indie comic marketplace Comicsy. The cover of the comic has no title, nor does any title appear on the website of publisher Disconnected Press. As far as we can tell, it’s not available digitally, so to get a copy you’ll have to attend a small press convention and buy a copy from its creators, or purchase it from the Comicsy marketplace, which is the only place we’ve been able to find it.
This is the story of Luis Aguado, an ordinary man touched by extraordinary events. It’s a story of faith, and grief, and the search for purpose. We don’t want to tell you much more, because the mystery of the comics publication isn’t just a marketing ploy – mystery and the search for meaning are at the heart of the story. And it’s such a great story, we wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.
From its beginnings on a stormy ocean, The Story of Luis Aguado feels to be in a constant state of movement. Conor Boyle’s artwork gives highly detailed and emotive characters, but is sparse in everything else. Almost every page is shaded with a murky watercolour, which gives its scenes and characters a ghostly appearance.
Whole crowds are rendered in a few bare lines. Colour is used sparingly and with striking result. In some panels, images are distorted as reality bends. Even in action scenes, rather than deliver bombastic panels to convey a sense of the awesome, the art here is almost without ego, perfectly reflecting the simplicity of true faith. It’s a very raw artistic style, but it perfectly suits the emotional weight of the storytelling.
Lizzie Boyle’s sharp script delivers realistic dialogue from people struggling to come to terms with a new reality. The dialogue is conversational, and yet provides a well developed sense of a man struggling with self doubt and grief, as well as a world that can’t make sense of the events it is watching. There are snippets of conversation, but even though the story deals with incredibly heavy subjects, there are no hefty debates or pages of exposition. There’s a constant sense of urgency, but despite being a comic book about a person with extraordinary powers, almost no violence. What little anger the story involves is highly restrained. It’s a simple story of the incredible.
Blurbs from social media appear thought the story and show a world that reacts in predictable ways. The cynical see yet another attempt to trick them. The patriotic see proof of their own tribe’s superiority. The religious see evidence of God’s grace. It’s a pattern you can see repeated following any major real life event. The Story of Luis Aguado gets to the very heart of the human condition, showcasing our weaknesses and fears, the very best and very worst of us.
Lettering by Jim Campbell, a name you’ll see gracing a great many excellent small press publications, manages to be entirely unobtrusive to the frequently simple panels, adding weight where needed. It would be easy to overpower the plain line drawings, but the lettering here is almost invisible. Look for the slightly faded lettering of a whispered prayer, or the slight difference in balloon shape to convey pace and emotion. Lettering is an often overlooked aspect of storytelling in independent comics, but its clear that Disconnected Press understand the important role it plays.
When a society’s only reference points for miraculous powers are superhero comics and religious texts, how will they react to an ordinary man apparently gifted with the ability to do the impossible? Do they kneel down in worship, or expect him to dress in lycra and save the world?
We’ve reviewed some great comics and some incredbly unique visions. This comic with no name is a masterful example of what indie comics are capable of. Thought provoking and beautifully presented, it asks serious questions without expecting a clear answer. If you were to see evidence of a miracle, how would you react? With cynicism, or with acceptance? Fear, or faith? That’s the question at the heart of the Story of Luis Aguado