Required Reading is DoomRocket’s love chest, opened twice monthly to champion a book that we adore. This week Arpad recommends the independent release of Sloane Leong, Ibrahim Ineke & Sean Ford’s ‘Twice Fated, Thrice Tried’, available now.

by Arpad Okay. Here, the tale of twins born into sickness, religion, and poverty. Twice Fated, Thrice Tried is a path through darkness, a story of stories to get away from life. Each fable a stepping stone for the reader to walk their path into the strange with the sisters. Life becomes wyrd stories itself.

Like a fairy tale, Twice Fated, Thrice Tried is a mix of magic and inner strength raising the lowest to the highest. The feel is also of a DIY release (punk zine culture lives!), of art dissent. Twice Fated isn’t going to tell a story if its message doesn’t matter.

Sloane Leong has choreographed a dance between short story and traditional panel-driven comics. Words are leading. Images step in time. The prose is a full bouquet of experience and detail. The comics from Ibrahim Ineke compliment the reader’s imagination with images from outside the narrative, or by prolonging moments after they pass, or showing a facet of things described mysteriously.

Leong’s voice is vines that cover a building. Long, twisted, poetic and natural and familiar. The language suits the air of uncanny horror that permeates Twice Fated, the telling of telling found in folklore.

The message is sedition against tyranny. Wit as a weapon, the point plucks sharp. The surface is twins turning poison into power with nothing but the strength of their bodies. The structure beneath is an examination of how the vastness of existence is shaped by the human hand.

Could a plan greater than the twins eclipse their place in this story? Are actions made by choice or dictated by fate?

Ineke’s sparse style helps Leong’s haunting prose stay obscured and malleable. The lines are sketchy, dreamy, the compositions esoteric. Loose, huge strokes for huge compelling moods. Shadowy and worked-over scribbling. The twins and their ancient raiment, cloaked and creeping with thorny lace.

Ghost riders and scarred miners. The body flattens from person to painting, the forest’s bare branches the loose ends of the universe and so make up the body itself. A fairy tale untouched by modern antiseptic.

Employed is every type of line and brush and texture. And all of it with restraint, concentration, focus. Ineke’s technique is constantly shifting, adding to the dreamy atmosphere. The drawings pose as ancient things, worn away by time.

Leong’s colors follow the rules and break them. They serve to clarify the narrative; what matters glows, but the color choices are wildly expressive. Unnatural. Inspired. Leong’s eye for contrast and compliment between color pairs in a scene are always dynamic.

The flesh of fruit holds a light the sun gave it, as do crystals sparkle with the stars that charged them. Rainbow sherbet and cats eye marbles. This is what goes into the colors of an unlikely food comic, a horror eating book. Everything is consumed: dinner and dross and all else.

Twice Fated, Thrice Tried looks like an industrial music poetry chapbook. It has the style and the substance of a 90s Vertigo gothic magic story. But the line it walks between comic book and illustrated story sets it apart from period comparisons. Twice Fated is uninterested in the recognized boundaries of sequential art if they aren’t to be explored.

Twice Fated lives at the edge of the modern genre fiction. Anthropology comics, a broad spectrum of fantasy and science fiction written as a single style and setting, the stories of worlds told long and fully enough to stretch from a sword’s reach into exploring space.

This indefinable, undeniable work of anthro-comix called Twice Fated, Thrice Tried examines devotion. What is worth dedication? What is greatness? Belief is power, an engine and its fuel. When presented with the impossible, people will rise to meet the challenge, for better or for worse.

Independent release / $8.00

Written by Sloane Leong.

Illustrated by Ibrahim Ineke.

Colored by Sloane Leong.

Designed by Sean Ford.

‘Twice Fated, Thrice Tried’ is available now. You can purchase it here.

Enjoy this 3-page preview of ‘Twice Fated, Thrice Tried’, courtesy of Sloane Leong!

More Required Reading…

‘Grunt: The Art and Unpublished Comics of James Stokoe’ a fierce resource from a raw mind

Uncompromising and potent, ‘PTSD’ brings us to the realm of the discarded

‘Jesusfreak’ kick-punch-flip-stabs its way to the center of moral quandary, is victorious