Creator: Dale Forward
My favorite part about the comic book medium is how flexible it is. Like most creative mediums, comic books are capable of giving a unique perspective to readers while they consume a story. As a sort of in-between of novels and film, comic books allow creators to show the reader the creator’s vision while also allowing for some interpretation in between the panels. At the end of the day, comic books are the perfect marriage of art and storytelling, and like most mediums, creators can get a bit experimental with their presentation.
Warlock is a unique reading experience that tells its story while the reader wears 3-D glasses. Rather than making the pages appear in 3-D, these glasses intend to give readers a unique perspective. Creator Dale Forward uses the red and blue lens to show different content to readers, and it makes for an unusual experience that the majority of readers will find engaging.
Warlock tells the story of a Warlock who suffers from a curse. In one eye, the Warlock sees a normal reality, but the other eye is cursed, forcing him to see a warped version of reality. Suddenly his cursed eye sees monsters, strange patterns, and glimpses of both the past and the future. Eventually, the warlock goes on a journey in an attempt to end the curse. Readers get to share the warlock’s vision with the 3-D lenses.
Dale Forward eases readers into the two perspectives, and throughout the issue, they can simply close one eye to see one perspective, then the other to see the curse. As the story progresses though, Forward takes advantage of 3-D glasses by playing with both the warlock and the reader’s vision. There is one moment in the middle of the story that especially impressed me, as it gave a perspective that is absolutely impossible to give without the glasses. What started as a potential gimmick became a successful means of telling the story. Even more importantly, the glasses allow for the reader to connect to the character through a shared perspective.
Even without the 3-D glasses, Warlock is still an entertaining tale. Forward tells the story as if it were a myth, making the story feel like an ancient epic. The various patterns throughout the multiple perspectives and patterns allow for different interpretations of what everything means. The story itself is incredibly unique, but the actual text itself is scarce, which puts more work on the art in order to make this comic success.
Fortunately, the art succeeds in telling the story, and can almost do so by itself. Forward’s unique style suits the fantasy setting well. The issue is full of trippy and messy lines that allow for the character’s skewed perspective to become a reality for readers. There isn’t much color aside from what the glasses give the reader, but the consistency in reds and blues make it easy for the reader to interpret what is real and what is not.
The character designs are fantastic, using a mix of classic archetypes and the creator’s unique vision. Simple monsters that are common in the genre look more sinister, despite being easy to recognize. The choices in attire are especially interesting, mixing fantasy with gas masks and hulking suits of armor.
While Warlock is a novel experience, it isn’t without flaws. While the story itself isn’t particularly long, it might take readers some time to get through it. As much as I enjoyed using the glasses, switching between eyes can actually be somewhat exhausting. Some readers might find themselves needing to take small breaks, even if don’t necessarily want to. It takes an extra amount of effort to truly enjoy Warlock for what it is, and this might not be for everyone. Of course, the intricate art and 3-D glasses allow for the book to have extra longevity. Multiple reads allow for the reader to take in more of the world and perhaps catch interesting finds that they missed in previous reads.
Warlock is one of the most interesting comic books I’ve picked up. Not only because of the 3-D glasses, but also because of its unique art and character designs. I’ll admit that it isn’t for everyone and it takes a significant amount of effort to read, but it’s worth it just to see a cool idea that the medium doesn’t often witness.
Warlock is an interesting experience with a one-of-a-kind way of telling a story.