In The Center for Otherworld Science by Shing Yin Khor, a group of employees at the eponymous organization face both the otherworldly and the mundane. When an incident at Site 44 leads to the death of Andy, who works at the Center, the survivors are left to sort through the fallout left in the wake of the accident.
For some of the employees, this means an inability to move beyond Andy’s death. But while mourning seems to come easily to her peers, evolutionary biologist Doctor Maggie Ng finds herself unable to fully understand her emotional reaction to the workplace disaster and faces an existential crisis. She turns to lead facilities engineer Danika Jones, whose fear of romantic intimacy threatens to overtake her own desire to share a relationship with Mags. Meanwhile, their supervisor, project manager Doctor Jennifer Kim, begins to undertake a plan to make a real, lasting difference in the world… but is institutional change even a possibility?
The Center for Otherworld Science combines otherworldly creatures and fantastic settings with the mundane details of working in a professional setting and the small moments shared between three coworkers. The result is a comic that feels both familiar and ethereal simultaneously, a sense that is only underscored by the simple and extremely effective art.
But simplicity can be deceptive: while it’s evident that the experiments conducted on the flora and fauna of the Otherworld are morally dubious at best, the results achieved by the dissections — such as the eradication of sickle cell anemia — make the idea of revolution more morally complicated than it might otherwise prove to be.
Be sure and check out creator Shing Yin Khor’s website to see more of their work (including their sublime installation art), follow them on twitter @sawdustbear, and donate to their Patreon to help them fund future projects!