Of Stone, a comic you may haven't heard of from a comic book writer/artist that you should know. Seriously though Dave Bishop is one of the best feel good stories in the independent comic book world here in Toronto. A hard working family man who's passion to create drives him everyday to work on comics, he has tackled zombies, squirrels and even work on the new under water thriller, Deep Sea, with writer Ricky Lima. With a second issue in the works, I wanted to take a look at this epic of the stoic stone ogre, the first issue of Of Stone. But for this post, I wanted to explore a few of the themes and symbols that could potentially be linked to this story. Because as far as I am concerned this is a book you should get, because with every book purchase you help an artist get one step closer and closer to his goals. So it goes without saying, buy Of Stone. Hell get two copies of it for a friend over seas. And besides once you get a copy of this book, I would love to hear your own opinions and thoughts on the issue, what did you see and what did you think. With that out of the way, let's take a deeper look at Of Stone...
•Walk Harder: You hear this a lot, especially in books and movies about the struggles of growing up and coming of age stories, you have to be hard. It's one of the obvious themes, I mean it's literally in the title of the book. But you start to understand it more and more with each page. The main character of the story is a warrior and a hunter, Gan, the most you get from him though his a sense of responsibility and duty. He knows the creatures he hunts are bad, a threat to the world. And so he wants to do everything he can to clean the world of these creatures. But it's not until the end of the issue that you get a feeling that maybe he is doubting what he and his people have been doing for years. Because maybe it's not meant to be questioned, you just do as your told. Even with the lost of his own son, he doesn't stop hunting, he keeps moving forward with a heavy heart. Through the harsh winter, the mountain terrain and even through the pain of battle, this one tough cookie.
And you know in life, sometimes we need to be tougher then we really are. It's not easy and it can be the challenges of trying to hold a job and feeding a family, or maybe trying to finish a deadline. But no matter what, we need to be strong, we need to be "Of Stone". Anyone who accomplished a change in the world, they made sacrifices to get to where they needed to be. And much like the author of this story, he is still fighting everyday to create great works.
•Know Your Enemy: As mentioned earlier one of the turning points in the story is when our hero is fighting the dark shadowy demons and suddenly hears their voices, he hears one of them cry out for his now dead brother. So not only can these creatures communicate, but much like the ogre community in the mountains, these creatures have family. How much does this change things exactly? Well it is much easier to hunt something you know is bad for the planet, especially if it doesn't think or feel. So then realizing this beast isn't as wild or unaware as you were told, perhaps changes things. What if all they wanted to do was live like you do? What if all the legends and tales that were told were lies?
This reflects much of our current state of fear mongering in the news and media, all we need to know about our enemy is that they are dangerous and they want to kill us. But how much does a soldier know about the war he is going to fight? The less they know and the less they question, the better soldier you have fighting for your cause. How much will this reveal change things in the next issue, I am looking forward to finding out.
•My People: The last theme I wanted to look at was community. In the book you get to see three races; humans, ogres and these shadow creatures. From an ogres point of view, you see that the ogres are people of great strength, pride and tradition. They hunt to protect the planet from this enemy, and unlike the humans who live on tales and lies about heroism and bravery, the ogres bring skull trophies back home, as a token of unquestioned strength.
There is no doubt we should be proud about who we are and the community we represent. For every success you accomplish you are representing your family, your city, your country and of course, humanity as a whole. Creating a standard of strength and success is a way to make sure all who follow your path will continue to keep that reputation high.
Plenty of food for thought here, and possibly even more that I didn't even touch on. Of Stone is one of those books you can read again and again, to see those messages and see how they play out in the story. I can't recommend this book enough, and I am personally super excited to see what's in store for the next issue and how each of these past themes will be expanded on.
So give Dave Bishop a follow here or here and see what show he will be at next and be sure to get Of Stone and join the conversation, I want to know what did you take from the story? Do you agree or disagree? Let me know in comments below. As always you can contact me on Twitter or Tumblr, over @ChileanStorm, let me know what you are reading and what I should take a look at next. Remember to give plenty of love to all the indy comic book artist who are taking off. Thanks for reading, and until then, keep chasing the storm.