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Review – The Forever Maps #1 (Scout Comics)

The Forever Maps #1 (Scout Comics) cover (detail) by Todor Hristov
The Forever Maps #1
Overall
7.7/10
7.7/10
  • Writing - 7/10
    7/10
  • Art - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Overall - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
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Summary

Writer: Michael Lagace
Art: Todor Hristov
Publisher: Scout Comics
Maturity Rating: Teen +
Release Date: September 25, 2019

In The Forever Maps #1, John dreams of a life away from his abusive father. A chance encounter with a stranger in the woods leads to the discovery of the first Forever Map and the beginnings of a strange new adventure that’s uniquely Candian! 

Running on the Hedonistic Treadmill in The Forever Maps #1

Centuries ago, there lived a man named Arthur Schopenhauer. Now, by all accounts, he was a glib, crotchety old pessimist. A lover of the arts who wrote extensively on the human condition as well as what was, in his opinion, the driving force behind all human action—the Will. Schopenhauer equates human existence to “running on the hedonistic treadmill”. True happiness is impossible; all we are is a collection of fleeting desires. It’s a vicious cycle of longing, achievement, loss, and pain. In The Forever Maps #1, author Michael Lagace is exploring these concepts of Will and Desire through a brand new story that is distinctly Canadian. 

Writing

The Forever Maps #1 (Scout Comics) cover by Todor Hristov
The Forever Maps #1 (Scout Comics) cover by Todor Hristov

Set in the pre-Confederate days of York, the story revolves around John, the son of a wealthy but brutal minister. John is a dreamer. A man who longs for a life away from the emotional and physical entrapments of his abusive father. One day while wandering far from home, John saves the life of a strange old man being attacked by wolves in the woods; that’s when he discovers the first Forever Map. The parchment leads him to one location, then another, and another. Close enough to keep on going, yet far enough away to always fall just out of reach. As a man possessed, John is driven to keep searching, determined to find out, once and for all, just what lies at the end of the Forever Maps.

Lagace’s voice perfectly captures the essence and tone of pre-Confederate Canada. His writing style is uniquely Canuck, reminiscent of Robertson Davies or Farley Mowat (authors who have sewn themselves into the very fabric of Canada’s literary history). It’s emotional, complex, and intriguing—the great beginnings of a classic Canadian adventure story. 

Art

You could be forgiven for not immediately recognizing the name of Todor Hristov, for now. But this relative newcomer is already garnering the attention of some of comics’ biggest names, including Scott Snyder, Matt Hollingsworth, and Rick Remender; it isn’t hard to see why. 

The artwork in The Forever Maps #1 is truly what drives the story. Hristov possesses unequivocal scrutiny for detail, amplified even more so through his choice of charcoal color motif. It’s this innate understanding of both line and shadow that allows him to ever-so-delicately convey his character’s emotion to the audience.   

For a Bulgarian-born artist, you’d swear Todor spent his summers traversing the foothills of the Rockies and swimming in the cool waters of Lake Louise. He understands the topography of his True North surroundings perfectly. There’s nothing Canadians love more than to see themselves represented in any type of foreign entertainment medium. Todor, you make us proud! 

Conclusion

Canadian content often gets a bad rap, especially amongst Canadians. We’re a completely self-deprecating bunch, regularly losing sight of our own history and culture altogether. No, we’re not all curlers, lumberjacks, and fur traders, but a good number of us did start out that way (minus the curling, of course). It’s important, as we embark on new journies, that we never forget own rich history. We have our own identity, our own stories to tell, and our own creators eager to share the tales of a nation. The Forever Maps #1 is a glimpse into the formation of a country and an examination of the moral character that defines today what it is to be Canadian. It’s a call to the ingenuity of exploration, the daring of dreams, and the unquenchable thirst for wonderment.  


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Jordan Claes

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