Minus

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A fundamental aspect of any story lies with its pacing. And while an innovative or evocative beginning is needed to capture your reader’s interest, what separates out the truly great stories from the rest is how it ends. This is far more important than many people may believe; I’ve witnessed numerous stories that just cease, either because the cartoonist gave up on it, or because they ran out of ideas. Even worse is when a story continues on past its natural ending, due perhaps to the fans desire for beloved characters to continue, or the cartoonist’s fears of what will happen if he or she gives up on a cast and setting that has become so easy to write with.

Fortunately, that didn’t happen with Ryan Armand’s rather unique comic Minus. I’ve suspected for several weeks now that the comic was coming to an end, what with the annihilation of all life on the Earth by Minus after several ghosts made an ill-conceived demand that all of the dead (and their pets) be brought back to life. And I must admit to some regret that this imaginative and bizarre tale of a young godling has concluded. But while it would have been fairly simple for Armand to have his young deus ex parvulus set things back, there was little point to it.

I mean, yes, there are unexplained mysteries. We never did learn how or why Minus has these godlike powers. Nor did we ever learn what was up with the red-clad stranger who whisked Minus away into his briefcase and what happened to Minus while she was in there, or why she decided to die and then haunt the world as a divine spirit (though one as mischievous as she was in life). But when I look back I don’t find an overwhelming need for these puzzles to be solved. They’re curiosities, but they’re not true loose ends such as would exist if the comic had a more concrete continuity. This is both a strength and a weakness for the comic as a whole.

Minus existed as a series of montages, bound together by the cast more than by any true continuity. It is this whimsical sense of storytelling that was at the heart of this lighthearted adventure and what made it worth reading. But it could easily have become repetitive and boring, especially if Armand was growing tired with the comic. And while I’ll miss reading about the latest hijinks Minus and her friends get into… isn’t it better now to lay the comic to rest before the stories start to get old and repetitive? All good things must eventually end. This is a lesson more cartoonists should take to heart.