Kristyna Baczynski is one of the dynamos of the UK comics scene. Her work is always precise, highly detailed and thrumming with a unique palate, energy and focus. Her first full-length graphic novel, Retrograde Orbit, is a particular favourite. Now, A Measure of Space is too.
Vesna’s planet is about to be hit by a meteorite. We don’t know, or especially care, about the specific because Vesna doesn’t. An introvert, she’s always felt more comfortable at home than anywhere else. So when the government advises everyone to stay indoors, she’s completely at peace with that. The fundamental stability of your inner life as a shield against the damage and chaos of the outside world. She takes shelter in place, the meteorite hits and life, by and large, goes on for her.
Baczynski’s character work always sits at the corner of pragmatic and alien and Vesna embodies that ideal. She’s clearly not human but she’s certainly familiar, both in her introversion and in her coping mechanisms. The gently post-apocalyptic world her village becomes is acknowledged as a practical problem to be solved rather than an existential horror. Vesna takes everything from the need to grow her own food to mild facial mutation with the same good humour, Baczynski’s art showing us the horror and tranquillity of both, often at the same time. Vesna’s fine. Vesna’s different. But Vesna’s fine.
This reads, to me, as an exploration of the first couple of years of the pandemic and of lockdown. Vesna’s dialogue with her self and her actions becoming a conversation with the world how it is right now. It’s a dialogue conducted with Baczynski’s trademark compassion and perception and it’s one that’s a pleasure to sit in on. Spend some time with Vesna if you can. She’s different, but she’s fine. And so are you/
A Measure of Space is available now