Arts & Culture / Mosaic / September 28, 2011

Free Souls comic has heart but still seeking artist

In between the sorority recruiting pitches and student senate advertising that constitutes the majority of the posters cluttering the walls of Seymour Gallery, there is a rather different poster seeking a graphic artist for an enigmatically named project called “Free Souls.” It fits that it is a rather different poster, because it is for a rather different purpose.

“Free Souls” is a graphic novel written by sophomore Jmaw Moses, the origins of which stretch back to the time when Moses was in fourth grade, playing a game with his friends in which they were all either superheroes or super-villians, slugging it out with their special powers to determine the fate of the world.

Though the rest of those fourth graders gradually grew up and forgot about their game, something about it stuck with Moses, and he began to write down ideas for a story line based on the superhero game.

Over the years, this childhood game matured in Moses’s mind and gradually became a story with a more definitive shape. The main characters are now not fourth graders but teenagers who discover that they must save the world by sealing off portals to another universe from the forces of evil, which are directed by the super-villian Malus, a name which Moses was inspired to use after he learned it was the Latin word for “evil” in a class he once took. Each of the main characters can harness the forces of two elements, such as time or darkness, to use in their battle against Malus.

Though the story line remains unfinished, Moses said he has put so much work into the project that, “I’d like people to have the chance to see it.” However, when writing a graphic novel, the written word is only half the story. Moses admitted “I have no artistic skill, but there are plenty of people at Knox with skills who I hoped would be interested.”

This search led to the creation of the aforementioned posters. At least one perspective artist has replied, but Moses said that the search remains ongoing and that any artistically inclined Knox student is welcome to talk to him about collaborating on the project.

Just like the story line, Moses does not know where it all ends. He would like to see it published someday, but beyond that, he does not know. Perhaps one day posters advertising Free Souls will be found far beyond Seymour Gallery and in the wider world beyond Knox. That, one has to say, would be quite super.

Matt Barry
Matt Barry is a senior majoring in international relations and double minoring in economics and German. This is his third year working for TKS, having served previously as discourse editor. He has worked for such organizations as the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Premier Tourism Marketing and the Council on American Islamic Relations-Chicago, where his work appeared in such publications as Leisure Group Travel, Ski & Ride Club Guide and The Chicago Monitor. Matt has written his political opinion column, "The Voice of Reason," weekly for three years, which finished in first place at the 2012 Illinois College Press Association conference and was also recognized at the 2013 conference.

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