Gorgeous Debut “Curveball” Explores A Difficult Romance in a Science-Fiction Setting
In a breathtaking debut graphic novel from Nobrow Press, artist and storyteller Jeremy Sorese casts his readers into a neon sea of human wants and foibles with Curveball, a science-fiction not-quite-love-story that highlights the thin line between optimism and delusion, and the often agonizing process of moving on.
Set in a futuristic society that relies entirely on technology powered by kinetic energy, Curveball follows Avery, a young waiter bogged down by a miserable day job and haunted by a prolonged and painful relationship with the noncommittal object of their affections, a sailor named Christophe (Avery is also gender ambiguous and uses ungendered pronouns, which is an exciting instance of non-binary representation).
The world in which Avery resides has its own troubles: a unique and beautiful urban landscape that is plagued by “snaps”, violent outbursts of uncontrolled energy that destroy entire buildings, only to be rebuilt within minutes thanks to a process of synthetic and digital reproduction. The result is that in a world where such catastrophes are commonplace and the effects are immediately repaired, little regard is given to the increasing frequency of the snaps, or to the seemingly far-off battles with an unseen insurgency known as the Bolt Revolt.
In this way Avery lives in a mirror of their own mind, repressing fear and discontent in favor of day-to-day concerns tinged with hesitant optimism. That is, until Christophe’s ship docks in the bay and Avery’s fragile self-confidence, much like an energy snap, implodes.
Sorese’s take on science-fiction is stunning, enveloping the reader in a meticulously detailed but instantly familiar world, aided by his unique visual style that feels somehow nostalgic (there’s definitely some Osamu Tezuka in the DNA of Curveball) and yet simultaneously completely fresh and new. The book is doubly gorgeous when you take into account the use of vibrant neon orange borders and spot coloring to accentuate the presence of technology and robotics in Avery’s world.
That Sorese manages to not only weave together a timelessly human story and a refreshing take on sci-fi, but also do so in a way that is both emotionally profound and visually arresting, is a testament to his craft. Curveball is available through Nobrow Press, online, and in bookstores, and I highly recommend getting it for the Indie comics lover in your life this Holiday season.