A samurai warrior emerges to fight an army of giant crabs, followed by a colossal king crab (he even has a crown to prove it). This is followed by a quick hop to a department store for a ring. However, this all just turns out to be your average, balding, doughy guy, and this adventure took place in the Interface.
What is the Interface?
Well, virtual reality would be a bit too reductive. All told, I'm not entirely sure all of what the Interface consists, and I'm led to believe that this is the point.
In the first half, it's implied to be some kind of Matrix-like machine, but it appears to be some sort of drug in the second.
However, getting hung up on the fast-and-loose nature of this narrative's realities prevents you from really enjoying it, and there is a lot to enjoy.
Tales from the Interface is vastly intriguing read. It takes advantage of its status as visual storytelling by, well, telling the story visually. There is very little dialogue and no text narration. The art tells the majority of the story, and the nature of the narrative allows for said art to give you some stunning and at-times surral visuals. From the spewing king crab to a naga snake-man selling a man a glowing blue stone, there are a lot of memorable panels in this comic.
The art of Emmanuel Filteau is absolutely stunning. The way he plays with forms and colors is gorgeous, and the creature design of the various beasties what show up over the course of Tales from the Interface are great. The main character also has hair briefly that resembles the poop emoji, and, given one of the illustrations at the back of the comic, I'm led to believe that this was deliberate as well. I approve.
Filteau is also the writer of this story, and it plays with what could have otherwise been a fairly trite and overdone set-up—that being the "virtual reality will destroy the world" narrative—and gives some new angles on the idea. Will we be able to distinguish between reality and virtual reality? Will that matter? Are the virtual experiences valid? Isn't it all still just rampant consumerism? Who really benefits from that? Can it benefit everyone?
The comic seems to come down on the side of it being a problematic prospect, but its presentation of the Interface still gives experiences gorgeous enough that you feel like the experience really can be transformative for the user. It is certainly a comic that wants you to think and succeeds in getting you to do so.
Needless to say, I highly recommend Tales from the Interface. From its art to its unique spin on an oft-used premise, Filteau's comic is a wonderful read. You should definitely check it out.