Webcomic Wednesday - Memory Palaces by Edie Fake

What you’re looking at was not created digitally. Sure, the buildings in Chicago cartoonist Edie Fake's Memory Palaces series look like what would happen if you artificially evolved the pipes and castles in Super Mario Bros. forward about 2,000 years, but they were made with pen and paint, not pixels. A ballpoint pen and gouache was all it took Fake to make structures so vibrant it can almost hurt to look at them.

Perhaps that’s the point. Mad Men‘s Don Draper once famously pointed out that “nostalgia” literally means “the pain from an old wound.” In Memory Palaces, Fake depicts landmarks from Chicago’s queer history – gay and lesbian bars, bookstores, bathhouses, nightclubs, political HQs, you name it. Many no longer exist. But in their heyday, all of them had the power to change the lives of the people who visited them. With his inventive, intense, eye-melting art and videogame design sense, Fake is turning these perfectly normal places into the science-fictional vortexes of freedom and transformation they became in the minds and hearts of their patrons. The paintings capture their power in a way a black-and-white photo just can’t.

The purpose of Webcomic Wednesdays is to highlight science fiction, fantasy, and horror comics in an alternative/underground style. Memory Palaces, strictly speaking, is neither a comic nor fantastic fiction. But you don’t need multiple panels to tell a story, and you don’t need swords and lasers to show something astonishing.