Mother (Comic)

  • This project is the final assignment of RISD's comics winter session 2018. The narrative follows a desperate mother fighting to gain custody of her daughter. She loses everything in a divorce, but strives to work her way up. However, everything is destroyed when the daughter fails to recognise her own mother after five years of disconnect. This project is an exercise in exploring different styles and experimenting with minimalist dialogue/narrative.
  • Page one - the mother character is thrown out of her home by her ex-husband. The chinese characters on the lanterns say "mother," which is the title of the comic, while the banner below the roof reads "Cao family;" the name of the father.
  • Page two - the mother picks up a little rabbit doll belonging to her daughter in panel 1. She is a bit disoriented after the fight, and wanders onto the middle of the street. The red shadow, which symbolises her previously prosperous self, is juxtaposed against her battered and bewildered face. 
  • Page three - the mother returns to her dilapidated apartment on the other side of town, completely alone. As she opens her door, the audience perceives her figure through an empty bottle, which distorts her. As it becomes increasingly difficult to hide her vulnerability, the audience sees her in greater clarity--till she collapses in the final panel on the bottom of the page. The red marks shows intimate moments she shared with her daughter, from breastfeeding to comforting her.
  • Page four - the mother tries to regain her past life and status by working diligently. She takes the jobs of a factory worker, car mechanic, and waitress in the day--yet by night, she sinks to murkier waters by entertaining male guests in a bar and brothel. The split composition conveys her duality, a recurring theme throughout the composition.
  • Page five - five years have passed, and the mother finally managed to gather the money needed to file a lawsuit, and see her daughter. As she puts on her makeup and jewellery, she fantasises about what the meeting would be like. The audience follows her as she stops at a familiar street and knocks on the Cao Family door. To the mother's surprise, the daughter opens the door...but instead of a warm embrace, the timid little girl whispers, "who are you," completely and utterly shattering the mother's hopes and years of hard work.