Pullbox Reviews: Do You Believe in an Afterlife?- the earliest and latest original work from Fell Hound

  • Do You Believe in an Afterlife?
  • Created, Written, & Illustrated by

In another reality, alien machines have run rampant on earth.

A diminished military is all that’s left to fight them.

Here, at the end of the world, a mechanic and a soldier fall in love…

Told in zine format, Do You Believe in an Afterlife?  is a graphic short story of comics and prose about two lovers navigating a war they can’t win, and a world on the brink of apocalypse.

Private Arid Leroux & Specialist Claire Flores didn’t get together under circumstances that you’d think of as a “meet-cute”. The world is caught up in a war with invading alien machines, and it isn’t exactly going our way. While Arid trains to take the fight to the enemy, Claire struggles to keep their vehicles & equipment operational. With everything happening around them, they still manage to catch whatever time they can to behave like people do.

Do You Believe in an Afterlife? is an early piece of work from Fell Hound, something she’s looking to revisit and put back into print. With that in mind, she was looking for some perspectives and since I’ve recently fallen into the Fell Hound fandom after reading her other books (Commander Rao, & And We Love You), I was happy to volunteer. The fact that Fell actually responded and was happy to give me a review copy of Afterlife? is equal parts awesome & humbling.

I can’t claim much by way of artistic talent but I know enough to understand that when a creator goes back to their earlier work, and seeks out thoughts from reviewers, it can be nerve wracking. The artist looks at the old and can’t help but compare it to the new, wondering how they got from there to here. In the case of Fell Hound, she’s improved almost exponentially and that’s one of the things I loved about getting a look at Afterlife? Seeing Fell Hound’s progression, the work she’s put in, it’s obvious in every aspect of her comics. Her writing is much more natural, and the artwork has gotten much more dynamic.

Looking at Do You Believe in an Afterlife?, Another thing that’s pushed home is that Fell has a pretty personal tie to the stories she’s telling. With Claire & Arid, one thing she’s gotten down is showing how quickly & intensely relationships can form in the military. When these two come together, each with very different backgrounds & ideals, it plays out as the most natural thing in the world. The chaos… the daily reminders of the war that’s still going on around them, doesn’t keep them from acting like people instead of just soldiers.

In the artwork, Afterlife? is a profound example of how an artist progresses in their craft. The work here is good but going from here to Fell’s later work is a great way to see how she’s smoothed out her action sequences, changed how she approaches panel layouts. All the talent shown in later books is here. This is just Fell Hound dipping a toe in the water before diving in. Again, as an older piece, the illustrations hold their own and I can’t judge them based on what I see here because I’ve already seen what comes next.

If you haven’t read any of Fell Hound’s other books, hop on over to her page and see what’s she’s got cooking. While Do You Believe in an Afterlife? is currently out of print, there’s a second edition in the works and her other selections have been pretty well received among readers (like me) & reviewers (also me) alike.

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