Brainstrips is an interesting take on an old concept. In fact, it’s a few old concepts mashed together in an intriguing way. The textual elements of the comic are thought-provoking, in the way that philosophical questions are. For example, even on the cover, the man in the army uniform says, “So this is how you found the Meaning of Life…?” Then girl replies, “I’m sorry, but Richard has the right answers for me!” However, philosophical questions are not necessarily meant to have “right” and “wrong” answers, so where does her response come from? Are Mr. Suit’s answers simply what she wants to hear? Has no one ever told this woman that a healthy debate is good for the heart? (JK, I am not a doctor).
Another textual element that I really enjoyed was the the lines in “Is Color Real?” One character seems to now know that he is in a comic, and the other two are aware. The first character says, “I sense a blackness all around us…” Then the other two point out that it’s the black border on the page of the comic. The first mate point’s out that the captain’s left hand is “breaking the frame.” The comic declares, “Suddenly, a shift in foreground perspective!” as a too-big bird passes by the boat, the oblivious character not realizing that it’s in the foreground. The very last quote is a cute sentiment about thinking outside the box, obviously referring to the panels of the comic.
I honestly was not very fond of the visual effects in the first part of the comic. The shaking of the speech bubbles felt… cheep. That movement did not need to be there in order to advance or enhance the story. It was as if the comic was screaming, “Look, I’m eLit, I promise!” The flashing lights on the boat were cute, but it was a very small part of what the comic was actually about. The sound was essentially just background noise that I muted after the first two panels. I am honestly not even sure if I missed anything in the 2nd and 3rd parts of the comic because I forgot to turn it back on again.
The theme of Brainstrips was consistent thoughout, discussing philosophical questions that aren’t really meant to be answered. If I had more time I would go through the comic a number of times and see if different answers effects the outcome of the quiz, but I have a suspicion that it’s all the same.
Overall I enjoyed this piece of eLit, but mostly for the content and quality of pictures. For me, I probably would have enjoyed it no more and no less if it had been a comic in a physical comic book.