As part of Blog@’s look at webcomics, may I direct your attention to Voids? Written and drawn by Shayna Marchese, Voids follows twentysomething Sara at the moment her life begins to tailspin into a very odd direction. Within the space of a week, she finds herself without any of the steady, constant things she’d moored herself to… and in scrambling to pick up the pieces, she finds herself surrounded by new people, with old connections and grudges. As Sara gets to know the situation better, it slowly unfolds before the readers’ eyes as well. Shayna Marchese tells us a little more:
Without giving too much away, what is Voids about?
SM: It’s really like most stories: It’s about friendship, relationships, not knowing what you’re doing with your life. The main character is sort of drifting along; she has no real job, no real home, no very strong ties to anyone. The characters are all in some way lost and look to different things try and feel less so. Frances needs to be in a relationship, Andrew drinks, Nika goes through men in order to feel in charge of something. The story is meandering in a way that hopefully will let readers “know” the characters by the end.
Do you have an ending in mind? How long is it planned out for?
SM: It’s planned out as nine parts, at 24 pages each. I’d originally intended for these to just be in print, but wound up trying it out as a webcomic and it seemed to work all right. I do have an ending in mind, and have the rest of the story mostly sketched out. Don’t expect explosions or car chases or anything, but there is some level of resolution.
We’re seven parts in, and we’re still seeing layers of these characters unfold. Have they every surprised you with a secret they’ve been keeping?
SM: I’ve definitely changed things as I’ve gone along. I started out with a clear idea of what the story was, who the characters were, and where they would end up. Some of their roles have started to seem more or less important as the story progressed, and they’ve wound up not having as central a role as I’d originally thought. As far as surprising me… Frances’ character has surprised me, and the can-man… well, he’s still mysterious.
There’s a manga underpinning to some of your page/panel design — not so much in the figures, but in the way you set a scene with close ups of the details around the room. What books have influenced you, manga or otherwise?
SM: Seth’s way of quiet storytelling has influenced me, definitely. Also the way Guy DeLisle can have a whole page with no text and still tell so much. As far as manga… I haven’t really read much of it; does Yoshihiro Tatsumi count? His illustration style and downtrodden characters have certainly had an influence.
What other webcomics do you read?
SM: Everyone loves her, and I do too: Kate Beaton draws some of the greatest expressions.
Raymond Armand over at Kiwis By Beat has a cool style; especially Minus.
Webcomics I read on a regular basis: Multiplex, Bear and Kitten, Sock Monster, Chip Shop Adventures (really, the comics on my links page are all great, though some aren’t currently updating). Also slightly less webcomic-y but well worth checking out are Justin Madsen and Sarah Becan .
In addition to Voids, Marchese has been serializing Sumimasen, a short, atmospheric comic inspired by a recent trip to Japan. The final page was posted today. Although it’s a travel journal, there’s a certain similarity in point of view… Marchese’s unfamiliarity with Japan occupies some of the same emotional territory as Sara’s bewilderment at her neighbors and friends.
The Voids website is difficult to navigate at the moment, so here are some easy links to the start of every chapter so far: