A review by Amelia Wellman
The story of Sail is a simple one. Carrie, a young girl unhappy with the life she has, sets off to find her own way. Setting sail on a raft, Carrie drifts into the ocean where the meeting of a sympathetic ear helps her find her way.
What’s so amazing about the story of Sail is that it conveys so much with only nine pages of narrative available. Carrie is leaving her mother and island home because there’s nothing there for her to make her own, starting the story out on a note of rebellion and self-discovery. When Carrie meets the mermaid Kahley, youthful rebellion turns into angst as she unloads her problems to a sympathetic ear. Not that Kahley understands what she’s saying, but there’s understanding based on the tone, and she sets out to make it better for the young girl, replacing the angst with magic and whimsy. Sail ends on a note of acceptance as Carrie returns home to her mother, ready to take on what faces her there.
My personal favourite part of Sail is how Kahley does what she can to make Carrie feel better. There’s a language difference between the young girl and the mermaid, but when Carrie points to the night sky, Kahley assumes the sadness in her is because the stars are so far away. Diving deep into the ocean, Kahley works some mermaid magic and brings what she assumes Carrie wants closer to her.
It’s really touching because Carrie had said that the stars were as far from her here as they were back home. She’s disillusioned with life even after she’s set out to start a new one. It’s just more of the same for her because she doesn’t seem to know what she wants besides the proverbial something more. But then Kahley goes and brings some “stars” right to her. It brings about a change in Carrie. Maybe she can’t reach the stars in the sky, but she can find their equivalent where she is.
The art of Sail is what drew me to the comic. It’s unbelievably cute! Very soft but still detailed and expressive. This is an ocean based story and the art reflects it with neutral colours done like watercolours. In the making-of pages that follow the story, the artist admits it was a pain in the butt to do the ocean, but I’m so glad they were done in that style because it’s an excellent water effect.
Kahley the mermaid stands out beautifully with her bright colours and sharp angles compared to the more neutral colours and rounded shapes that surround her. Having her be more fish like than human like was a good choice as well. And I absolutely loved the two panels that show stars in the sky and then the freckles across the bridge of Carrie’s nose. The freckles to stars comparison in parallel panels is a brilliant way to show that she’s already got everything she wants inside herself, she just can’t see it herself.
Sail is an exceedingly charming little tale. Only nine pages long but it seems like more because each reader will find something different in it and be enraptured with Carrie’s story long after you’ve finished reading it.