“Sir, the lingerie department is on fire.” …“Today is a dark day Harriet.”
I Am Fire is the second full-length story by Leicestershire comic writer and artist Rachael Smith. I reviewed her first, ‘The Way We Write’ earlier this year and loved it.
I Am Fire follows Jenny, a bolshie, arrogant, ignorant teen doing her work experience at a small haberdashery. To put it finely she’s a bit of a dick. Chris is a creepy, awkward, pyromaniac kid working, ironically, in a fire safety department. Their eyes meet across a fire safety talk whilst Chris creepily stares at Jenny, ah the romance of youth.
As can be imagined disaster ensues, but all is not lost, Jenny realises she’s a dick in a moment of burning clarity and decides to change her ways.
For me, this comic wasn’t as good as her fast-paced, intriguing tale of ghosts stealing talent. Instead I found it almost too real and a little too close to home. It was still funny, making me chuckle a little in places. The dialogue is so realistic I can imagine it coming from the mouth of my younger teenage sister, and the idea of her meeting some creepy pyromaniac kid really isn’t that farfetched.
As expected I LOVE Rachael’s style of writing, and her illustrations are awesome, her use of facial expression makes the drawings come to life, from the creepy look on Chris’ face to the concern on the face of the mother. Her characters are believable and she uses colour incredibly well, at one point during a flashback the colour we see throughout the comic changes to sepia like it does in the movies.
My problem with the comic is nothing I can particularly put my finger on, it just didn’t have the same essence as ‘The Way We Write’. I think because I loved that one so much, this one didn’t quite do it for me.
Maybe it’s one for those without teenage sisters, for me it was just too much like real life and not enough escapism. Bring back the creepy choir ghosty things.
While maybe this one hasn’t lit my fire as such, I am excited to see what Rachael comes up with next! As always give it a read and let us know what you think!