The first volume of Vibe by Dan Ciurczak contains well-paced action scenes and strong character dynamics. It’s a narrative about grief and learning when to make peace with it. It’s a powerful webcomic that’s worth checking out.
Fifteen-year-old Baron Bones, a witch doctor, extracts vibes from people. These vibes then manifest into beasts and Baron uses the help from one of his loa companions (Ogoun (Magma), Agau (Storm), and Jean Petro (Ice)) to fight them. Baron thinks he’s old enough to look out for himself. His aunt, of course, believes otherwise, witch doctor or no. He’s been living with her since his parents died in a car accident, and he hasn’t seen his sister Bree in five years. Then a witch doctor named Furio appears and reveals that Bree has returned. At first, Baron doesn’t believe it: if she’s come back, then why hasn’t she visited him and their aunt? And what about those nightmares he’s had since Bree disappeared? He later learns that the people and secrets that have vanished from his life are likely meant to stay hidden.
As of 2015, the webcomic is on an indefinite hiatus. However, volume one (six chapters) is available to read online. The ending, while open-ended, wraps up enough loose ends to tighten it as a standalone story. Vibe explores grief and the ways people handle it. In real life, you can’t always tell when someone is struggling or grieving. You don’t know what someone is going through, and even if they talk about it, they don’t always reveal everything. The story especially shows how destructive it can be when we trap our emotions inside us.
The vibes and loa derive from afroindigenous traditions and rituals in the Caribbean (Hoodoo). Furio speaks in the patois from his Jamaican homeland. The story seamlessly interweaves the racial and cultural identities of the characters. Vibe, a fun webcomic with vibrant action sequences and comical moments, takes its time to highlight the ways grief and pain are expressed or concealed.
For more great webcomic recommendations, please check out our Wednesday Webcomics archives!
Author: Brahidaliz Martinez
Brahidaliz (pronounced Bra-da-leez) is a 2019 graduate of American University’s MFA in creative writing program. Their cross-genre chapbook, Coquí’s Song, is forthcoming (2023) from Mason Jar Press.
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