The Prism: preview of Matteo De Longis' comic

The Prism: preview of Matteo De Longis' comic

The Prism

The Prism is the new science fiction comic written and illustrated by Matteo De Longis and published by Bao Publishing. The first volume, Burn! , introduces us to a world on the verge of collapse, where only sound has the power to avert the imminent end of life on Earth. With a similar preamble, the role of the paladins of the planet could only be welcomed by a rock band assembled for the occasion by a super corporation. Their task: to compose the definitive song that can put an end to the advance of the dark destructive force.

We had the opportunity to participate in a round table in the company of Matteo De Longis and Bao Publishing to discuss in preview the work and deepen its curiosities "behind the scenes".

The Prism Volume 1 - Burn! is available for online purchase.

The Prism: a comic as a concept album

In The Prism, De Longis plays the role of the complete author, competing with an ambitious project that will see him busy telling a story divided into seven volumes, which will be released every two years. A similar premise could scare even the most reckless reader, however the narrative will also be structured to allow even a discontinuous reading, since the story and the individual volumes will be structured in such a way that they can be read independently of each other.

The musical aspect is a real cornerstone of the project: De Longis has compared its narrative structure to that of a concept album, that is a record that through its songs is able to tell a unified story . In this sense, Burn! , the first volume, is juxtaposed to the overture, while the next issues will be the "songs of the disc", each dedicated to one of the band members. The volumes will therefore be characterized by a horizontal plot and will tell the story of each of the protagonists, in order to link the experiences, the experiences of the characters and their role within the story.

One story you can hear

The roundtable was a perfect opportunity to confront the author and deepen his aesthetic choices. In creating a complex and dynamic story like The Prism, De Longis used an approach borrowed from Japanese animation, thus trying to make every detail visual. The limit of the representation of sound in comics (in an anime or in a film there would obviously be a real soundtrack) was thus the genesis of Triskelix, an original visual representation of onomatopoeias. A choice that was motivated by the need to always bring music to the center of the narrative, using shapes and colors to imagine sounds.

The Prism is a beautifully crafted comic down to its most technical aspects, such as the color rendering. This element, often taken for granted, was personally edited by the author, who wanted to personally follow the printing of the volume, in order to verify the paper rendering of the digitally generated color. Color is therefore a fundamental element and in this comic it is approached both to light and to the frequencies that characterize the vibrations, also thanks to the various "special effects" capable of communicating bass, hum, cacophony and all kinds of sound representations.

Inspirations and influences

In conceiving this grandiose story, the author has poured into its pages many influences, mainly borrowed from cinema, in particular that of Kubrick, and from the Japanese animation of science fiction, such as Gundam or Evangelion. However, it should not be thought that The Prism is a mere reflection of these works, or a condensation of elements borrowed from several seminal works. De Longis approaches these tributes in a conscious way, always trying to put them at the service of his story, so that they never turn out to be out of place.

The narrative coherence is given by a solid worldbuilding that makes possible the crazy idea that five musicians can save the world by composing music in space. In support of this vision, De Longis conceives an imaginary pyramid in which his aesthetics can be intertwined with the coherence and concreteness of a plausible scenario, always putting the plausibility of his worldbuilding and its setting first.

The Prism vol. 1: some of our considerations

The Prism contains many different elements, which mix together to create an original story, with a fast pace and full of post-modern citations. The two major influences are (fictional) science and music, which represent the very backbone of The Prism and which find their expression in the spatial narrative, in the aspects of worldbuilding and in the environmental collapse of planet Earth. On the musical and sound component, on the other hand, it is clear from the first page that sound will be the key element of a story which, in addition to being read, will also require adequate musical and sound accompaniment.

“The PRISM is soundtracked with the Triskelix experimental method.

Music and noises are sound effects of the same nature, therefore onomatopoeias are made up of graphic signs without any phonetic meaning, the matrix of these signs is the triangle.

In The PRISM the onomatopoeias are not read, they are felt. "

Although De Longis does not suggest a real playlist that fulfills the role of soundtrack, it will be relatively easy to compose the soundtrack of The Prism. Among the musical quotes, some real easter eggs of the author, we can recommend: Muse, Smashing Pumpkins, Tool, Mars Volta, Foo Fighters, System of a Down, Porcupine Tree and Nine Inch Nails.

This introduces the third element that permeates the whole story: the easter eggs! Quotes are an element present in every fiber of the story, be it characters or names of people and things. The search for every single easter egg has thus made the reading of this first volume an experience capable of entertaining and conferring a certain personal satisfaction in sharing a musical culture that ranges from the classics of the 70s to the more modern scene and to some references to the characters of Italian and non-Italian pop culture.

Visually speaking, The Prism strikes for a refined and evocative photograph that supports impactful scenes. The coloring in particular has the function of emphasizing the feelings and subjective perception of the different characters, amplifying the “sound” dimension in this aspect as well. The volume, paperback with dust jacket, allows you to fully appreciate the sensations transmitted by the coloring thanks to an excellent print that adds further value to this product.

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