‘Is there really such thing as a normal person? Or do you play a complicated part trying to follow the rules?’. Artist Hecate is fed up with trying to make a difference in the world. She’s retiring her artistic persona for good. Can anyone convince her that the world is worth it? We find out in Hecate’s Will Issue #1 by Iolanda Zanfardino!
Publisher: Black Mask Entertainment Inc
Writer: Iolanda Zanfardino
Artist: Iolanda Zanfardino
Price: £2.69 from Forbidden Planet
Hecate’s Will follows the story of an NYC graffiti artist, Hecate (or Rebecca), who has reluctantly decided to retire her artistic persona. However, before she quits for good, she wants one final hoorah – a giant graffiti scavenger hunt through the streets of Manhattan that will lead her fans to a final message!
‘Isn’t making art just proudly showing your scars to the world?’. These are the first words we are greeted with in this short comic and are a clear signpost to the reader about the message of self-acceptance and hope that the overall story is leading to. We begin with some gorgeous pink and purple hues, and the outlines of YouTube videos and Instagram posts rather than our typical comic template. Everyone is searching for something, but we don’t yet know what it is. Who will find it first? What message will it reveal? Will it be in a significant place?
We soon find out, as we’re penned a letter from Hecate herself, a graffiti artist who proudly declares that ‘Hecate’ (Rebecca’s artistic alias) is now dead. Hecate was passionate about changing the world for the better through her art, but now feels that it’s totally pointless. The world doesn’t want to be saved, and she’s giving up. She’s saying sayonara to Hecate, and as a gift to the public, she’s left one final piece of art for them to find: a nine-piece epic graffiti puzzle, one piece each week, for them to put together. And it’s going to reveal something special.
After this initial build-up, we were a little disappointed to find that the story focused on Rebecca trying to find other interests outside of Hecate, rather than the artsy mystery – we can only assume that this issue was focused on character development and background, and issue #2 will deliver on the scavenger hunt front! We did get some interesting elements through following Rebecca, rather than Hecate, however, mostly including fun interactions with her group of friends (primarily her extroverted roommate Mateo)!
We definitely DO get some important character details about Rebecca – like the fact that it’s her 30th birthday, which is a clear contributor to her feeling low about her lack of what the world sees as ‘real achievement’ (a steady job, marriage, kids etc.). We also learn about how painful she finds it when her graffiti art, which is almost always a statement about a real issue, is painted over or turned to money in the hands of other people. It feels like an erasure of the issues she is trying to bring to light, and an erasure of her existence and identity.
We really enjoyed the glimpses we did get at the artwork involved in Hecate’s final puzzle. Embodying the look of a tarot card, we first see a grim reaper with the word ‘oblivion’. The second features a woman who looks like she is being forcibly silenced by the thorns surrounding her. As they twist and turn around her limbs, cover her mouth, and grasp at the written words in her hands, this one is a clear message about censorship.
All in all, we would’ve liked a little more story in this issue, but as it only totaled 36 pages, it seems fair that the bigger plot will come later on, especially in a series which spans multiple issues. We hope to see more of the puzzle side of things in issue #2!