Rori Lane, a young woman, moves to Tokyo from Ireland where she starts school and tries to establish herself and re-connect with her mother. She is quickly caught up in supernatural events, forming alliances and trying to defend herself and her loved ones from mythical monsters.
I don’t know how people read monthly comics. I tend to forget details and end up wondering wtf is going on. That’s why I much prefer reading TPBs & collected editions, so I can binge through a series or story arcs. I’m like Marvin Gaye – I wanna know what’s going on.
(Sorry, that was a god-awful dad joke that I stole from a college buddy. Back to Wayward.)
I LOVE Wayward.
I love mythology and can’t get enough of it. It doesn’t matter if it’s woven into modern times or not, as long as it’s a fresh perspective involving characters and creatures from myth and folklore. And Jim Zub kills it with his story weaving the past and present together. This is the rare story that feels like it was written just for me – that’s how perfect it is.
I’ve known of Jim Zub for awhile. I’ve read his Samurai Jack comics (which I should add to my recs because he did a bang-up job of capturing the zeitgeist of the series). But mostly I know him from his blog where he expounds extensively on comic book writing and creator owned comics. The info, for an unknown writer like myself, is gold.
But in Wayward he’s created something special. I’ve seen folks online refer to it as an updated Buffy the Vampire Hunter but that does not do it justice. Buffy is really about teenage life and growing up, with a lot of monsters. Wayward is a much more immersive world of monsters and folklore that some teens find themselves in.
I’m not saying one is better than the other. They’re different in their approach and like both a LOT.
Wayward nails my love for folklore and mythology. And I love how it eschews the whole Monomyth idea of having a wise elder guide the hero(es) in favor of kids who have to figure shit out for themselves. It’s not predictable and that is something that makes it such a compelling read.
I realize I’m not saying a lot about the story itself and that’s intentional. I don’t want my recommendations to be like bad movie trailers that give too much away. I hope that I can express how much I like something and convince you to give it a chance. I read a LOT so just taking the time to write about something indicates how I feel about it.
One thing I absolutely love about the series are the detailed essays at the end of the issues explaining mythology, folklore, history or culture. It reveals the deep well from which Zub wove the tale, and how our interests and life experiences shape us as creators. And I learned something new every time. Being able to sink your teeth deeper into something you love is sooooo satisfying – as is getting insight into a writer’s inspiration.
Plus Wayward is a finite series with a deeply satisfying end. I’m not a fan of comics or tv series that go on and on and on, long past their expiration date. I rarely read superhero comics these days, though I cut my teeth on them, because almost all of them are beating dead horses. And I loathe how tv shows like The Walking Dead and the American version of The Office just keep going & going to squeeze as much revenue out of their existence as possible.
Stories need to end. We need a conclusion, though not all questions need to be answers. Wayward ended, it felt good, and I’m perfectly fine with wanting more but there not being any more. That’s the mark of a damn good story right there.
But there is hope – the comic has been optioned for a TV series and it would be hella fun to watch. Hopefully they won’t fuck it up like Death Note (which, coincidentally, is a series that was twice as long as it needed to be, though I don’t begrudge the creators for wanting to cash in).
On a personal level I have a mythology inspired series that’s been germinating for (omfg) 10 years now. And Wayward is inspiring me to up my game. It’s challenging but creative inspiration is a good thing.
Now go read Wayward!