We Are Here Forever
Creator: Michelle Gish
Publisher: Quirk Books
When the humans are gone, small purple creatures called Puramus will take over, harvesting our stuff for food, shelter and play. At least, that’s the post-apocalyptic vision of the future created by Michelle Gish in We Are Here Forever, which now exists as both a webcomic and a graphic novel from Quirk Books. Even better, the webcomic and the graphic novel have totally different stories, which invites new readers and old to enjoy the antics of the Puramus, online or in print.
There’s nothing bad to say about We Are Here Forever. Perhaps that sounds idealistic, but it’s true. This graphic novel is unique in its concept and execution and its characters have distinctive voices, even in group settings where the Puramus echo each other. Gish’s art is bright, colorful and clean; each panel packs a punch and the dialogue is perfection. There are laugh-out-loud funny moments throughout this book, as well as ones that will make the reader want to burst into tears. In some ways, the Puramus are like dogs or cats or even birds. They’re smart, creative and resourceful, but they’re also playful, silly and deeply curious.
One of the strongest elements of this book is how Gish uses facial expressions to convey emotion. While it’s true that many of the comics contained herein are heavy on dialogue, which is wonderful, it’s simultaneously true that some of the best moments are the ones that don’t share space with lettering on the page. The Puramus feel things deeply, just like we do. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the panels where their facial expressions and body language do all the talking.
We Are Here Forever features 12 chapters spread across four time periods. Each jump represents a different period in Puramus history, allowing readers to learn how Earth has progressed and changed under their unlikely rule. Gish employs recurring characters in certain time periods, which allows readers to get familiar with individual Puramus and their relationships to each other. Likewise, certain settings return throughout the book, recalling previous stories. As Gish notes at the start of the book, not every time jump goes into the future; the Puramus’ origins are revealed quite late in the story. I won’t say more than that — spoilers!
It’s rare that a post-apocalyptic story can be written for people of all ages, but Gish has accomplished that feat. We Are Here Forever is a super sweet series of short stories all set within a world where humans are gone, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you love cute comics that are packed with dry humor, antics and the occasional tear-jerker moment, then this graphic novel is for you.
We are Here Forever hits shelves July 30. Final verdict: BUY.