Webcomic Wednesday: Ant Comic by Michael DeForge
Ant Comic 22
Hey folks—Sean T. Collins here. Every Wednesday(ish) I’ll be casting the Eye of the Vorpalizer on a webcomic from what I like to call the “alt-genre” end of the spectrum: Comics whose subject matter falls into the “fantastic fiction” realm of science fiction, fantasy, horror, magic realism, superheroes and so forth, but whose visual or tonal aesthetic is a little bit farther afield than the traditional modes of illustration for those genres.
Perhaps my favorite such comic for the past year or so has been Michael DeForge’s masterful Ant Comic. In the SFF world the nearest point of comparison would be something like Animal Farm or Watership Down, in which animal characters are used to animate very human events and concerns, while in the comics world it reads like a merciless revision of “funny animal” comics starring anthropomorphized critters of whatever species, from Scrooge McDuck on down.
In this particular case the critters are ants, specifically members of a colony of black ants as they encounter worms, spiders, centipedes, bees, and in the breathtaking Where’s Waldo-style page above, a rival colony of red ants. DeForge’s genius lies in taking insects, already at a far remove from human experience; redesigning them to look even weirder and more alien; placing them in enormously high-stakes life-and-death situations; yet making their reactions to these situations as unnervingly blasé and cynical as humans at their worst. The push and pull of those disparate elements creates a story that forces us to look at the way we make love and war with fresh eyes. Absolutely gorgeous colors, too. Check it out!