THE EDGE OF THE WORLD IS FURTHER THAN YOU'D THINK by Maddison Chaffer
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
Maddison Chaffer weaves a beautiful and gut-wrenchingly relatable story with visceral art.
98 %
PROFOUND AND MOVING

THE EDGE OF THE WORLD IS FURTHER THAN YOU’D THINK is an illustrated narrative poem by Maddison Chaffer. The story follows someone who relocates to the other side of the country and endures the heavy toll of loneliness. Eventually, that loneliness takes on a physical form. Though the narrator longs for the memories they left behind, that loneliness does not revolve around one particular person. It is merely the longing of a life that has changed beyond recognition.

Attention to Detail

THE EDGE OF THE WORLD IS FURTHER THAN YOU’D THINK contains some absolutely beautiful language. For example, there’s a breathtaking phrase like, “[It] pressured my soft baby hair to grow out all greasy and cynical.” Poetic, well-crafted treasures like these make a reader’s emotions soar, but it’s the grounding specificity of detail within the comic which really sinks its hooks in.

THE EDGE OF THE WORLD IS FURTHER THAN YOU'D THINK
Image from THE EDGE OF THE WORLD IS FURTHER THAN YOU’D THINK, courtesy of Maddison Chaffer.

It’s funny that, with a loneliness that is so vague, the world around it is so tangible. I think it really adds a layer of beauty to the piece. Chaffer does a wonderful job in employing the reader’s senses. The feel of fingers through your hair, the smell of flowers, a setting sun — they’re just a few of the snapshots of life invoked in this comic. There’s also a very strong awareness of the body — spines, teeth, and lungs. This fosters an intimacy with the reader, and it makes the words immediate and visceral. I will say that I have a small longing for a glimpse of a time before the miles between the narrator’s own life and their new loneliness. However, I suppose if my only complaint is that I’m desperate for more of a wonderful piece, that’s not half bad.

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Touching Relatability

THE EDGE OF THE WORLD IS FURTHER THAN YOU’D THINK has a narrator that is a very specific and detailed character. They lay out where they’ve been and the problems they face. However, the character of Loneliness has mystery and an imprecise nature to them. Because there aren’t specifics to Loneliness, it makes the feeling they represent more relatable to readers. As someone who has personally lived a somewhat nomadic life, I know all too well that overwhelming longing for something indefinable. I understand that you can be in a beautiful place — a place that makes you happy — and still miss things you’ve left behind.

THE EDGE OF THE WORLD IS FURTHER THAN YOU'D THINK
Image from THE EDGE OF THE WORLD IS FURTHER THAN YOU’D THINK courtesy of Maddison Chaffer.

In making loneliness a concept which encompasses all of one’s memories, Chaffer imbues the comic with profoundness. It would be easy for a writer to make a comic about the longing for an ex-lover, but the longing for one’s collective past is so much more painful. It’s more difficult to reconcile. As everyone in life has, presumably, experienced change, I can’t imagine there’s a single person who this comic won’t resonate with.

Moving Artwork

THE EDGE OF THE WORLD IS FURTHER THAN YOU'D THINK
Image from THE EDGE OF THE WORLD IS FURTHER THAN YOU’D THINK, courtesy of Maddison Chaffer.

Typically, I’m not a fan of colorless comics. I understand why it’s done, but it’s just a personal preference of mine. However, I find the grayscale of THE EDGE OF THE WORLD IS FURTHER THAN YOU’D THINK suits the work. A lonely period in life often feels like one without color. I appreciate, too, that the art style does not dedicate itself to realism. I love not only seeing loneliness brought to life as an amorphous blob, but also seeing it physically loom and grip the narrator. It’s hard enough to put feelings into words, but putting them into visuals is something else altogether.

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Final Thoughts on THE EDGE OF THE WORLD IS FURTHER THAN YOU’D THINK

I think that this is a beautiful comic about an emotion every living human being experiences. It grasps the truth of personal growth and letting yourself heal around your loneliness. Not only is this a magnificent piece of art, I also believe it is an important one. With works like these, loneliness doesn’t have to feel so isolating.

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