“Something Terrible” by Dean Trippe

If you only buy one DC comic this month, buy “Something Terrible” by Dean Trippe.

Dean Trippe is a chap who’s work I’ve seen all over the internet for the longest time. His work seems heavily inspired by Bruce Timm – clean line, bold and fluid, with angular, stylised characters looking both cartoony and totally real at the same time.

He’s been in print a little, but not nearly enough. His storytelling is great, and his art perfect.

Which is one of the reasons that if you only buy one Marvel comic this month, it should be “Something Terrible” by Dean Trippe.

Trippe keeps busy, mind. You can get a sense of what he’s up to over here. He’s flexible, does good likenesses, great facial expressions, and pretty special design. He actually co-founded Project: Rooftop, which is one of the places that exemplifies how comic fandom has started to become a creative enterprise in itself: brilliant artists, redesigning established characters, and the designs being discussed. Great fun.

He also creates Butterfly, a webcomic by Dean Trippe, that’s been running since 2005. Though I can’t speak to that as I’ve just this minute found out about it.

If you only read or buy one digital or web comic this month, you should probably make it “Something Terrible” by Dean Trippe.

Child abuse is about the most spiritually destructive crime that exists. It leaves scars – across communities, families, and most devastatingly across the whole life of the victim – that are indelible. It’s hard to read about it, and I imagine it’s much harder to write about it.

It’s hard to write about it so that it’s actually an ultimately uplifting experience for the reader, and it’s hard to make people feel like they haven’t heard what you’re telling them a heartbreaking, numbing amount of times before.

If you don’t read many autobiographical comics, or only read around one a month, you should make the effort with “Something Terrible” by Dean Trippe.

Comics about the experience of being into comics are pretty common – maybe not as common as stories about child abuse, mind – but they aren’t all amazing. Often, the subjects of them are so defined by the quirks or obsessions of their fandom that they’re probably a bit difficult to relate to for “civilians”.

Actually, you could say something similar about stories about the victims of child abuse: for too many, they’re horribly familiar, but for the rest of us they are more an exercise in sympathy than they are empathy. The awful crime at the center of them becomes the only focus, to the point where they become more a survival horror story than a human story we can inhabit.

If you only read one comic about the worst and best of the human experience this month… you already know where I’m going with this.

“Something Terrible” by Dean Trippe is an 18 page comic about how awful things that happen to a person in their childhood can poison the rest of their life, and how we can find refuge in art from even the worst things that happen. It’s also about how misinformation can be convenient and devastating, and the smallest of facts can make the hugest difference.

It took Trippe a really long time to learn something really important, and probably because it’s something people don’t talk about. In this comic he communicates that something really important, and hopefully blows the minds of a lot of people who really, REALLY need it.

By the way, it’s also about Batman. A surprising amount, actually.

From Something Terrible by Dean Trippe

One more thing about “Something Terrible”… if you’ve ever been the jerk who judges somebody else on their knowledge, or lack thereof, about geek stuff, or tried to ring-fence your fandom, or isolate anyone else in this whole comics milieu of ours… you should probably read this comic.

Because one thing it captures perfectly is the nature of escapism, and how comics in particular provide that safe place, whatever it is we’re escaping from.

The thing that almost everyone who reads comics, or obsesses about a TV show, or cosplays, or gets really, crazy into music has in common? We’re escaping from the world. Some of us only for a few minutes, or only from boredom, but almost everyone is escaping from something always, and Trippe captures that perfectly.

Anyway, so go read it. There’s an abridged version here on Upworthy.
But the whole thing – a short, perfect comic – is only $0.99 (64p!) for a DRM free digital download in .PDF or .CBZ. You can buy that here.

Even if you don’t read comics, consider reading this comic. Even if you feel like you got it from the abridged version, share the hell out of it with your friends. It’s a great comic, and you might actually be really helping someone who needs to hear exactly this today.