Опасная зона

Опасная зона

Friday, July 20, 2012

Last Cereal

This post is dedicated to a wonderful web comic www.lastcereal.com created by Andrea B. Previtera during 1999-2002. I came across it after seeing a review of another comic by same author 10 years ago. Somehow this was effectively saved in my brain, and recently (for whatever reason) it resurfaced - and I was happy to see the website still exists.

The series is sort of autobiographic, or at least pretends to be so. The protagonist, calling himself "H." (very Kafka) lives his life in an anonymous and veritably demonized metropolis.

H. and the city.
The format is classic: 4 images in 321 strips, grouped in four seasons. Strips were created with the windows paintbrush (now: "Paint") program, which inevitably gives the strip a distinct style. The quality and level of detail increases as the series progresses, at some point colors are introduced, but falls back into black and white again. At one point also a few hand drawn strips appear.

The universe is "the city", featuring among others a few friends (of who one is killed), a sadistic job agent, a mysterious sandspire, cryptic figures such as a raging Rastafarian, and most of all a lost love named "M." which keeps recurring, effectively preventing H.'s wounds to heal. The conflict with H.'s love and drug addict M. is mostly treated in the "Silent Serenade of Spirits".

Amazingly few words and a few simple drawn digital brush strokes conveys the conflict effectively and sparked me with emotions. I had similar feelings when reading strips by the danish multi-artist Nikoline Werdelin, in particular her Homo Metropolis series, yet with the notable difference that her work is not as dark or autobiographic and rather pictures the absurdness of society as such.

Last Cereal is a tribute to depression, and when I recently rediscovered the site a few months ago, I realized, it is truely expressionistic. It portraits fears (here partially existential fears), but yet one finds beauty in the misery and plight. In expressionistic paintings you may have a white building in an elsewhere dystopian scenery (Marianne von Werefkin - Die rote Stadt); in expressionistic lyric you find humor which disarms an elsewhere apocalyptic scene (e.g. Georg Trakl - Noch ist Polen nicht verloren), in Last Cereal, this is embodied by the witty dialogues with the psychiatrist H. is visiting.
H's psychiatrist, struggling with his patient.
One of the coolest characters is clearly "Oriental Eyed Man", a notoriously drunk oracle of wisdom. More or less passed out behind a beer bottle, he occasionally gives a blip of concentrated divine insight.

Last Cereal is highly recommended to anyone worshipping miserabalism and anyone who needs a break from happy go lucky narcissistic facebook culture.

The same author also created a comic www.escaped.it, again touching fundamental fears in life. The page, alas, was lost over time in the endless ocean of bytes in the internet. The wayback machine couldn't help either. Hope the author didn't get sued, some of the strips were quite gross.

Author seems to be ok, though, he seems still to be active on a related (but un-linked) forum. Perhaps someone should ask him to fix some of the links.

Just to prevent this mishap again, I made a backup of www.lastcereal.com for my own archives. And surprise... I discovered two un-linked frames: one of the strips has a 5th frame. Another lost frame is related to the Silent Serenade of Spirits, which appears to be dead - but it's not. :-)


  1. Do you still have the Previtera Last Cereal backup?
    I really miss that comic ;(