Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Lesson Is Learned But The Damage Is Irreversible

I'm a fan of webcomics, and one of my all-time favourites is A Lesson Is Learned But The Damage Is Irreversible. It was written by Dale Beran and illustrated by David Hellman (later of Braid fame) and between 2004 and 2006 they published over 40 strips before going on hiatus. The comic used surreal imagery, a wry sense of humour, and an existential attitude to explore subjects like relationshipsdepression, consumerism, and accomplishment. If you follow those links they'll take you to strips that I think correspond with each concept, though that is by no means the last word on their potential meanings. Beran and Hellman used the comic to reflect upon the nature of human life from various angles, and each piece incorporates vast amounts of emotional and psychological content. The strips are more akin to paintings, and each one is beautiful and elegantly conceived.

If you've never heard of A Lesson Is Learned But The Damage Is Irreversible then I strongly recommend taking a look through their archives. Even if you don't like comics it's still easy to appreciate the complexity and depth of Beran and Hellman's work. Each script is written with a poetic sensibility, and the illustrations display a wide breadth of styles and techniques; the resulting images are some of the finest artistic works I've seen. I'll leave you with my favourite A Lesson Is Learned stip: the sprawling and medium-challenging Christmas Disaster Special from 2005. I would absolutely love to get a print of this one for my wall, if only to see it fully realized instead of constrained by the limits of my computer monitor.

Click the image to see it in full

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