Faith is taking some time off in her hometown, and she finds a postcard reminding her of an Alice in Wonderland television show she enjoyed as a kid.
Oddly enough, she soon encounters the rabbit from the show who tells her that the real Wonderland is being consumed by the host of that show. She’s been corrupted by mad consumerism, and it’s up to Faith to save her soul and Wonderland itself.
Most notably, this comic attempts to draw a dividing line between true creativity and mindless consumerism with its narrative. I’m not sure how successful it is in this attempt, but it is a well-meaning, if slightly self-serving, goal for which to aim.
The success of this moral is questionable, because, well — there are no distinct dividers between “true creativity” and consumerism. The show itself is a product, and the rabbit is drawn to Faith because of the postcard she purchased, which is also a product. Unless the show was public access and made no profit from public funding, then it is still a product being sold. You can kind of see the problem with trying to find a difference here.
Don’t misunderstand me; I completely understand wanting to draw a dividing line between appreciating creative art and being a vapid consumer. That’s something we have to tell ourselves to cope with that fact. I have stacks of comics compartmentalized in my mind as “art and literature appreciation” that could just as easily be filed under “my beloved consumer products.”
The Alice of this show went mad due to the advertising and branding deals, culminating in her burning all of the associated products. Even then, you could argue there are children who would have loved to have toys from the show, and they could serve as mementos for those children in later years. Even that is consumer-minded thinking, though. Again, Faith purchased as a postcard branded with the show’s imagery, which is still consuming a product.
The point being driven home here is that there is no clear dividing line between consuming art (“art” here being used in the broadest definition, i.e. anything nonessential and designed), and there may be no division at all. While the nerd in me appreciates Faith’s Winter Wonderland Special for trying to indicate that separation, its rules are ill-defined and simplistic, even if they’re simply being designed with comforting some troubled people this holiday season in mind.
All that economic philosophizing aside, the story is still pretty fun. It’s straightforward, creative in its own right, and well meaning. Zephyr is a charming and endearing character, and she can easily hold a story together on her gumption alone.
Francis Portela and MJ Kim split the art here between the “real world” and Wonderland. Both sections look solid, and the slightly changing art aesthetics make since in this context. I did find myself preferring the Wonderland art, as it was a bit more stylized and the coloring (the latter of those two performed by Andrew Dalhouse) is more balanced. The texturing and coloring makes the “real world” look a little more plasticine and, ironically, artificial.
While its moral is a bit flawed, over-simplified, and its conveyance takes up a good portion of the comic’s runtime, Faith’s Winter Wonderland Special #1 is still a fun and upbeat read. The art is solid, Faith is a great lead, and the concept is creative. I can recommend it to anyone looking for some fun holiday-themed comic reading, and it will satisfy you in that regard.
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