Stand Still - Stay Silent Review

Started: Nov 2013
Strips: 269 (Feb-2015)
Updates: Weekdays
Current status: Unfinished but actively updating
Genre: Post-apocalyptic/action/horror/fantasy
Content: Violence, mild gore (so far)
URL: http://sssscomic.com/

Another comic with a great title Stand Still – Stay Silent is very early into its story arc. More so than most comics I’d review, and honestly it’s still a little hard to come to many conclusions about it at this stage. I’m not even completely sure whether to classify this as horror or somewhere more in the action/drama arena.

So why am I reviewing something so early on? Well there are a few reasons: first the author has already written and successfully completed the web-comic I reviewed a few weeks ago, A RedTail’s Dream, which gives me some confidence they know what they’re doing.

Secondly the author is writing Stand Still – Stay Silent as a full time gig (at least for the moment), apparently funded from the profits of the crowd funded run of A Redtail’s Dream, which means a very high rate of page delivery – things should develop fairly quickly.

Finally, while both of the above are unusual, I wouldn’t be reviewing the comic if I didn’t also get the feeling that this could be something very cool. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for a good looking comic with horror-like overtones :-)

The comics overall rating reflects on the yet to be delivered potential. I’ll try to come back in a year or so and update it depending on how things went.

The characters and comic concept

Set in our near future Stand Still – Stay Silent doesn’t, as yet, seem to have a definitive main character, rather it seems to be accumulating characters as it goes on, but as he’s the first character introduced (ignoring the lengthy prologue) Lalli, who works as a scout but is also apparently a mage, seems the most likely candidate for the position. Him and Tuuri, who joins him a page later, are the first of a newly recruited team of explorers who have been hired to venture out into the “silent lands” lost to humanity. Lost to what exactly? You’ll need to read the comic to find out.

Fairly quickly we have Emil joining them, then a couple of chapters later there are Sigrun and Mikkel. Then there are a whole host of secondary characters and to be honest at various points I struggled to keep track of who was who, though reading it through a second time for the review cleared most of that up.

The characters, in part because we haven’t known them long and they share so much of the screen time, are a little lacking in definition for me. Tuuri is the inexperienced enthusiastic one, Lalli is quiet, socially dysfunctional but competent one. Emil is the “used to be rich” snobby one. You get the idea. Hopefully as we spend longer with the characters they’ll start to accumulate some depth.

The concept, or perhaps the delivery of the concept via the prologue, I found quite compelling and I was actually disappointed when the prologue ended. Hopefully the comic can deliver on the promise of that concept.

Story

As mentioned above it’s a little early to really review the story, it hasn’t developed enough to tell where it’s going.

So far we’ve had the prologue, sixty eight pages long, which shows us how the silent lands were lost and how humanity has found itself in the position it’s in. It’s actually got a bit of a comedic streak to some of it but as you read between the lines of what is going on things don’t look so good.

The main story line opens up quite slowly, starting with the introduction of Lalli, and is largely about introducing all the characters and moving them to where the story will start to get a bit more interesting.

But sometimes slow is good and in this case it’s been building up a situation, through an accumulation of little facts and circumstances, that give good suggestion of where things might be headed and creates a sensation of tension and foreboding. Of course it could all be in my head; they might all have a lovely time in the silent lands and return singing Kum Ba Yah… or not.  

Art

The art style of Stand Still – Stay Silent is not one I’ve often seen in web-comics (or printed that matter) but I love it to bits. The art is apparently all done on the pc/tablet but it has this look (please understand that I have no knowledge what so ever about art) like it was drawn on paper and then painted over in water colours. There are some delightfully atmospheric “long” shots of landscapes and distant buildings and such, and some very well done charts and maps.

On the negative side I sometimes found it a little hard to tell the characters apart, they have a bit of sameness about some of them, they all dress the same, and have similar facial characteristics. In some of the scenes it’s a little hard to tell who is who. It’s better once the story gets past the pre-amble at about the two hundred page mark.

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Author, publishing and timeline

The author, Minna Sundberg, lives in Sweden and has a degree in industrial arts a bachelor's degree in graphic design from the University of Industrial Arts in Helsinki.

The author has indicated the intention to do a crowd funded publishing at some point for Stand Still – Stay Silent which will hopefully allow her to continue to work on it full-time.

Her previous comic, A Redtails Dream, was completed in 2 years and 556 pages. The author hasn’t given an indication, that I’ve spotted, of how long she expects the current story arc to take but if she continues putting out 5 pages a week then maybe it could be done in as little as a couple of years. 

She has however indicated that this is the first of several stories arcs she’d like to produce – though whether that would be with these characters or even in the same timeline is unknown.


Hey - if you read the comic I'd love to hear what you think about it! Please come back and make a comment below.

Also - comments may CONTAIN SPOILERS! I'll certainly be commenting assuming the reader is reasonably up to date with the comic so be warned!