Reviewed by Syd
I’m easy – show me something inspired by the Jetsons or the Hildebrandt brothers 70s sci-fi art, and you’ve got me hooked. I’ve loved the expectations that architecture and society would excel absurdly beyond what we now see and lend itself into concave curves, odd-shaped plant life and non-humans in a human society. No exceptions with the intro to Made In Heaven by Kruttika Susarla. Some folks may balk at the aesthetic, at its bald-faced consumerist future where everyone is still working horrible jobs for horrible bosses. And that, folks, is exactly where Made in Heaven really sinks its teeth in.
Made In Heaven is a short story where everything’s looking great on the outside—thanks largely to the massive marketing team of crows and the efforts of influencer dogs (who don’t wear pants). Sure, they’re only here because they’ve been the subjects of predatory loans in the first place! Sure, they’re being exploited and exploiting in turn the labor of the talking, sewing leeches below them! But baby, that’s just BUSINESS!
The art is primarily inked with a flat under coloring – the inkwork does the lifting for shadow and the color the lifting for light- which makes everything really pop. Some panels (like the media team page spread) are just crawling with busy details like the contents of dozens of screens and monitors, and really feel like what I imagine the inside office of some corporate giant to look like.
The laws of physics and anatomy are secondary to mood here, but sometimes you’ll get a surprisingly realistic (dog) face that reminds you this isn’t a story about furries. It’s literal leeches, crows and canines being roped into the machine to feed consumerism.
Landing somewhere between social commentary and weird fiction, Made In Heaven‘s a colorful blast that feels the way a crow’s cackle sounds. As a guy who’s been drawing sci-fi comics in color for 20 years on the internet, I’m into it.
If this all sounds kind of surreal and absurd and like it’s taking the piss out of the capitalist society we’re all currently trapped in, it’s because that’s the whole of the thing. Susarla does it all with some great comedic timing and writing. The occasional flash of scribbly dog nads really reminds you to stop taking the story seriously, mostly because it’s a story we all already know. We’re all living in the damn thing, after all.
I was thrilled for the public disaster that befalls the One and Only human (CEO) exploiting all the Mere Animals beneath her. It’ll leave you with some gnawing questions, but in a good way. Do leeches really produce a fibrous filament that could be used for clothing? Is the use of leeches as the low man on the corporate ladder meant as a critique? Wouldn’t social media be a lot less grating if it were handled by a bunch of corvids? All good things to think about late into the morning hours—between scrounging for a living.
Syd is a partially functioning adult who has been drawing an online scifi comic (www.inhuman-comic.com) and art of animal people online for over 25 years. He, like many, worries about the oncoming apocalypse caused by corporate greed and has been trying to convey to his family for over 40 years that dogs should NOT be wearing pants. He refused to submit a photo, and instead sent this drawing of his final fantasy 14 character. He loves coffee and licking pencils.