In some way, maybe through luck, fate, or magic, I find a personal connection to every comic I review. Usually, they are related to my hobbies or my personal experiences. But, this time, it was related to the struggle between my job vs. my passion and the social pressure arising from this conflict.
When I’m not writing about comics, I work a 9 to 5 job. I would think that this is the case for many comic book fans. Therefore I’m surprised that we don’t see many books or series about office jobs. Then I remembered the last time I talked about my job with friends; they were bored. But there are some clever ways to depict everyday jobs in a fun way. Think about The Office (NBC) or Severance (Apple TV). I’ve felt related to both shows in ways I’m sure lawyers or doctors relate to the many forms of entertainment featuring these professions.
I know you are getting bored, so now it is time to talk about comics. Comics are known for taking aspects of day-to-day life and discussing them in an approachable way, aiming for wider audiences. Think X-Men as an allegory to inequality. As important and serious as some topics are, sometimes it is essential to use symbolism, metaphors, and even satire so the readers can understand your message. Because as powerful as a message can be, if no one gets it, it becomes worthless. In that sense, to talk about a family business in a comic book, you need a way for people to get interested. And nothing is more interesting than magic.
This happens in Potions Inc. by Erik Burnham, Stelladia, and Micah Meyers. It is the story of Randelgast “Ran” Jones, a man looking for adventure but stuck in his family’s potion shop. He has tried to leave, but each time he ends up coming back. His parents think it is his destiny to continue with the family legacy and that he needs to embrace it. Nevertheless, when an artifact is stolen from the shop, he finally gets his shot for the greater purpose he’s been seeking. The quest will take him and his siblings from their magical homeland of Primaterra to the mysterious realm called Earth.
Although this may sound like another story about a magical quest, which is fun in itself, there is a component of Ran’s quest to find his greater purpose in life. Following one’s passion by defying what everyone thinks about what they should be, is particularly relatable. This aspect of the book elevates the story. Many of us have jobs that challenge us and pay the bills, but those are safe choices compared to our passions. These passions are risky, uncomfortable, and hard to achieve, and not everyone makes them. But we still fight towards this goal.
Beyond these topics (that I may have overthought), there is a story about magic, creatures, and potions. Ran is not a magic-user, but his siblings are powerful, and they promise to rock the Earth with their fun occurrences. I love the art style, which sets the tone for a colorful and magical tale. Magic has endless possibilities. It defies the limits of the world where we live, making all our fantasies come true. As such, it should be attractive to look at, a combination of reality and abstract imagery, which is the case here.
Potions Inc. is a great book for new readers, especially as an introduction to the magic genre. It goes straight to the point when introducing the characters, their problems, and their challenges. Easy to understand and easy to follow, it hooks the reader. And, considering the family legacy and personal passions plotlines, this story will entertain experienced readers as well. The human component I thoroughly discussed previously is a plus to everyone struggling with their day job, pursuing their passion, and surviving in an ugly world.
In conclusion, I hate my job. Just kidding, LOL (if someone I work with is reading this, please don’t fire me).
In conclusion, Potions Inc. seems like a fun, colorful, magical adventure, but it is more than that. It is the journey of a person influenced by their family to be something they are not. A person told to stop being a dreamer that defies it and goes to fulfill their passion. It is about an admirable person, the kind all of us want to be.