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Archive Binge: Not Drunk Enough

G D Penman By G D Penman Published on June 5, 2017

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Let’s say hypothetically that you were trying to come up with the perfect webcomic just for me. It would probably contain a diverse cast of unique and highly stylised characters, a bright colour palette paired with dark subject matter, a main character with some anger issues, powerful platonic and familial relationships that drive people to feats of heroism, a sense of humour in the face of sinister circumstances, copious amounts of body horror, terrifying monsters with deeply unsettling designs and exaggerated human traits that have you constantly questioning where the line between man and monster lie, and a hip flask full of liquor.

It hardly seems fair for me to review a webcomic that fulfils such an incredibly specific niche that just happens to be exactly where I live, yet here I am staring lovingly into the gorgeous panels of “Not Drunk Enough” by Tessa Stone.

In this story an unfortunate repair man by the name of Logan is trapped in a research laboratory as all hell breaks loose and monsters, flowers full of eyes and all manner of complicated emotions slosh around.

Before you are even a few pages into the story you know Logan intimately, you know that he is a bit of an ass, that he is brave to the point of being impulsive and that he is, despite his failings, the decent kind of human being who would fling themselves into harm’s way to try and save a stranger from a situation that is so far beyond the realm of his usual experience that his entire thought process grinds to a halt at the sight of it.

Violence is frequent and brutal in this comic, but it never feels unnecessary or gratuitous. The characters are driven to the edge of the human experience, to the narrow window in which survival is their only goal an all the rules of civilisation break down, but unlike many modern dystopian works, they all maintain their decency despite their circumstances. The story is far from over, and still updating regularly at present, but despite the depths to which the characters have been driven and the torments that they have experienced, their fundamental character has not changed, the good people are still good, the damaged people are still damaged.

Centring the story on a character with a natural propensity for violence can be a cop-out in many horror stories, trying to transform a story that should have been a struggle for survival into a barrage of action movie clichés. But in “Not Drunk Enough” the overwhelmingly alien nature of the creatures that they are facing makes the violence seem less like a viable solution and more like desperation. There are moments where you can cheer on the characters as they beat a monster with a piece of pipe, but they aren’t the defining moments so much as a brief reprieve from the horror. Even when it seems that there is going to be a moment of humour and peace in the story, it is a prelude to the next shock.

The plot is solid, the dialogue is clever, the bright, stylised artwork is ideal and the positivity in the face of grim odds is inspirational. But of course, I would say that as this comic is a perfect fit for my specific tastes.

G.D. Penman writes about queer monsters for a living. He is the author of Call Your Steel, The Year of the Knife, Heart of Winter, Apocrypha and many other books. He is also a full-time freelance ... Show More

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