Writer and artist Carey Pietsch tells the story of a healing witch learning and growing with her powers. Debuting at SPX.
A WITCH LEARNS A LESSON
Lost Haven is a story about unexpected lesson and growing with your abilities. It is penned and drawn by Carey Pietsch who I was familiar with from her Adventure Time series Marceline Gone Adrift where she consistently does amazing work. Lost Haven is proof that her creator-ownned work is easily as entertaining and as well-executed as her work for hire. In addition to being a lesson about accepting changes in one’s life, Lost Haven is a beautiful fairy tale infused with poignant emotion.
A witch is at the heart of Lost Haven, but in the truest sense that witches once were. She is a healer working with animals, her gift funneled through a limited version of foresight that allows her to make snap diagnosis serving both the local farming and magic communities. By having the protagonist be able to sew her seeds of power to all members of the local populace Pietsch establishes her leading lady as a selfless priestess, an analogue for Mother Nature, if you will. She is a benevolent goddess sharing her gifts without discrimination.
However, there would be no drama in Lost Haven if all continued to be well. Pietsch disables the witch swiftly by yanking her gift of foresight away and the character is utterly lost without the certainty that the advice she is offering is correct. Although community members encourage the witch to grow her healing practice through the use of traditional medicine she rejects this notion and secludes herself inside her house – no longer willing to help anyone.
At the halfway point of Lost Haven the witch has gone from utterly selfless to completely selfish, not helping a soul, paralyzed by her own fear of failure. It is certainly easy for the reader to look down on the witch for clamming up, I like this shift in the character’s personality that Pietsch has put down on the page because it rings true to life in the midst of the simple, yet rich, fantasy world that she has taken the time to craft.
Lost Haven‘s turning point comes in the form of a small child who pesters and natters at the witch until she is forced to banish the nuisance. Without spoiling the ending, the child does have a profound effect on the witch and effects her in a way that no other character had been able to. The denouement comes through the adage “out of the mouth of babes” and it resonates. The witch’s final actions are perfect in their simplicity and the reader is left with a sense of well-being.
The story that Pietsch presents in Lost Haven is uncomplicated because it doesn’t have to be anything else. It is profound in the hope it offers and restrained in the small well-chosen words with which she weaves her tale. This story exemplifies a great independent story that truly deserves a wider readership.
WILD AND SWEET
Carey Pietsch also tackles the art duties in Lost Haven and she does an equally magnificent job. The visual aspects of Lost Haven have a cartoon-y quality that is reminiscent of Avatar: the Last Airbender – a world also steeped in magic. The characters that inhabit the pages of this issue are diverse, much to Pietsch’s credit, and they make the panels more interesting to look at, speaking to a more complex world than the one readers are treated to in this story.
The Witch herself is rendered in a lovely, lovely way. She looks like a benevolent Celtic leader, unafraid to come out and help the world as they need her, contrasting visually with the child who appears in the latter half of Lost Haven who is very much of the earth – small, scruffy and earnest.
Familiars are an important part of Lost Haven that was not much addressed in the story review above, but like the population, they add another level of complexity to a story that, at first glance, would seem to be straightforward, actually highlights many aspects of life. The familiars range from things that readers would expect, like cats, to creatures that much more strongly resemble dragons!
Pietsch has drawn a beautiful story in Lost Haven with her wonderful living creatures set against backgrounds that are complex, full and compelling to look at. This personal story of learning and growth is a treat to behold.
BOTTOM LINE: FIND THIS ISSUE
Lost Haven is amazing. It is perfect. It would behoove readers interested in small press comics, Carey Pietsch or stories about witches and magic to reach out and get their hands on this. Perfect for readers of all-ages, I cannot recommend this enough.
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