Nightmares are some of the scariest things around. Many people believe that some nightmares can spirit you away or downright kill you. That is why many people have some sort protective charm to help them comic creator Roby Duncan and artist Lewis Lain have been writing a webcomic about physical being protecting you when you sleep called “Smaller Totems” and it’s an interesting read.
Ian’s little brother, Brandon, goes missing and his parents think he just ran away. In reality, he was taken in the middle of the night by an evil because his teddy bear, who is a real totem failed to save him. Now the other stuffed animals/totems must figure out how why the bear failed to protect him and save Brandon.
This story is like the mundane object coming to life story (think “Toy Story”) but with an interesting spin: these objects protect kids when they’re having nightmares. That’s great but, but the execution is a little lacking. While the majority of the time we see the stuffed animals it’s when they’re just talking. When they’re actually doing any kind of combat, it’s just a one-panel chapter introduction with little combat. The only time we do get to see them fight is much later on.
The human characters are a bit boring though. Ian comes off as just a generic teen who is having issues. The stuffed animals are a lot more interesting and better fleshed out than Ian. It’s a great thing that we see little of him and the majority of the focus in on the stuffed animals.
The artwork has a lot of Meso-American influences. The characters all (even the humans) have these markings that can be seen all over Meso-American artwork. In fact, the animals look a lot closer to how these people drew animals than in a normal comic. It’s actually a nice touch given that a lot of the themes come from that area. Hands down the best-looking panels are the ones in between chapters that show battles and other random things. There is a lot going on in them and it’s worth examining them before continuing.
“Smaller Totems” has a great premise with some interesting characters and art despite the fact that the humans are about as interesting as a blank piece of paper. This is a different type of webcomic that should be read if you want something different.