The Drugs & Wires comic from Mary Safro & Io Black appeared on my radar when the first four chapters were collected after a VERY impressive Kickstarter at the end of last year…………and it was about time I delved into their creation.
Set in 1995 and following the life of a downtrodden central character named Dan, we see a bleak world at the ass-end of the cyberpunk scale as bright neon and AI gives way to a drug-fuelled delivery man trying keep his life together and his head in one piece. That may all sound like a rough ride to jump on-board with but there’s something intriguing about Dan and his quest for something that resembles happiness…….or even just surviving each day.
His past life and VR addiction come back to haunt him but there’s more than a few bittersweet laughs for someone you warm to from page one and just want to see catch a break. The mishaps come thick and fast for him though and as his ex-girlfriend and lunatic friends send his head into overdrive it’s nothing a good fix won’t help ease.
There’s a deeper side to the story too as the fate of corporate giant Hope-Fokker Capital Ventures is dropped into the mix as an interlude from the other side of the world. The cutthroat world of hostile takeovers sees them close in on the VR industry and you just know that this is all going to come crashing down around Dan.
There’s no doubting that there’s a bleak and almost grubby feeling to Dan’s existence but that somehow ends up being more real and fitting than just another polished & idyllic world would have had. The life of a deliver man is a bittersweet one when compared with the popularity he seems to have enjoyed in his previous VR-buzz world but you can’t help but think the past he yearns for could be the very thing that kills him off.
A strange mix of nostalgia & futuristic ideas makes this version of 1995 equal parts familiar and far-fetched but that all adds to the relevance in the themes they tackle. Mary & Io do a stellar job of keeping the story bubbling along nicely with nicely placed humour here and there to take the edge off and all while the artwork flips from grim day-to-day stuff through to explosive VR snippets with some insane surprises. By the end of the fourth chapter I can’t help but wish for more and this feels like it could just about convince me to drag myself away from getting my comic fix from just hardcopy and get caught up on what happens next through its digital release online. A head-fuck of entertaining proportions……..and I want more!!
Go check out the Drugs & Wires website for the story so far or check out the regular updates over on Webtoon, Tapastic, and in Russian via acomics.ru. You can head over to the online shop for this first volume and more plus you can support the book further through Patreon too: Drugs & Wires Patreon