The Bleed : Issue 2


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The Bleed is a collaborative effort from illustrators, photographers, writers and poets based around one main narrative. Funded by The University of Northumbria and edited by Daniel Thomson.

To even describe the story is a bit of a spoiler due to the mystery style, so official *spoiler warning* here!

There are two main characters that dominate Issue 2, one being the world famous artist Ezra Maas. The ultimate man of mystery, who lost his entire family as a child, in two separate accidents in one day. Although intelligent at a young age, only while struggling with the loss of his family does his true artistic talents shine through. But unlike most, he shies away from the limelight, uncomfortable with the attention and becomes a recluse. Or does he? Every newspaper story about Maas, has a complete opposite story somewhere else. When he's reportedly held up in his mansion painting, he's spotted at art shows and underground music gigs across the world. The truth is, no one really knows what Maas looks like, he could be anywhere, doing anything. That is the world he creates for himself and whether he meant it to or not, it has also added to his notoriety. For decades, stories of his art, writing, womanising, childhood and famous friendships fascinate the press and the public. Then one day he announces he is totally going to withdraw, the world will only see him again once his most recent and most important work is finished.

Seven years after his last confirmed sighting, Maas is presumed dead and infamous biographer Daniel Thomson is given the problematic task of writing his biography. As Daniel travels the world trying to hunt down truths, he starts to doubt every little things he thought he knew about Maas. He starts to find codes in Maas' work which lead him to flat full of his work.  In a hidden room he finds a diary that tells all and then he finds another one and another one, all covering the same time period, all describing a different life. He interviews whoever will agree to see him but hardly anyone will discuss their dealings with Maas and as people he meet start to die, Daniel begins to wonder if losing himself inside the artists life might become a fatal mistake. Whatever Maas had planned for the world, was it worth dying to find out?

The Bleed (Issue 2) is unlike anything I have ever read before. The foreword describes the magazine as a collection of information, submitted by an anonymous source after Daniel's disappearance. Some pages are made up of the Maas biography, some are personal notes, dictations, musings, illustrations and photographs. I personally found this approach completely refreshing and a perfect way to really draw the reader into the mind of Daniel, which becomes necessary as we follow him to the brink of madness.

The ending to the story (don't worry, no spoilers) is not a simple one and required me to re-read it a couple of times, to my enjoyment rather than frustration. I can only really relate it to the ending of Donnie Darko, a mix of fiction and physics that plays on being a millimetre out of normal understanding.

I would strongly avoid describing The Bleed as a graphic novel and think a mixed media, literary novel would probably be the best description I could come up with. It is a hugely ambitious piece of work and not only have they created a visually stunning book but have written a story that is unique and well written as a literary bestseller.

For more details on The Bleed, please visit their website here.


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