A couple of weeks ago, The Indie Toaster received a rather unexpected email. Alongside a brief but engaging description, the message contained an invitation to read Tales Of The Fractured Mind. Designed by writer Roddy McCance and artist Rolands Kalnins, this anthology presented itself as a socially conscious collection of short stories.

It took us only a handful of minutes to realize what exactly we were delving into. Instead of working on a cohesive and unified plot, Roddy and Rolands went down a different path. The package we were sent contained seven unrelated episodes, each of which dealt with a specific psychological ailment.

With characters suffering from a wide range of issues, from dementia and depression to PTSD and bipolar disorders, the duo aimed to lift the stigma surrounding mental health. A few pages into the book, we decided we wanted to know more about it all!

We Had Questions; They Had Answers!

As the title of today’s article might suggest, this won’t just be a review. If you only clicked to know whether the comic book deserves your attention, the answer couldn’t but be a resounding yes. Tales Of The Fractured Mind immediately appears as a unique and sincerely impressive work of art.

 

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In the mind of the reader, each of this book’s segments leaves an unmistakable sign of its passage. I personally devoured the 60 or so pages, developing a strong bond with the characters, their stories, and the situations they found themselves in. The collection is more than worth its price and the 4,99USD you’ll spend to get your hands on it might be one of the soundest investments you’ve ever made.

Any work of fiction that thoroughly resonates with its audience can be considered an automatic and complete success. Tales Of The Fractured Mind definitely fits within the category but, going by that definition, so do innumerous other titles. Our mission was to dig deeper and find out what exactly fueled the authors’ endeavors; what made this project as special as it looked.

We had questions; they had answers! All we were left with doing at that point was get to them!

A Risky Leap of Faith

For an impressive part of the population, comics simply appear out of thin air. More often than not, the mechanisms regulating the creative process remain a mystery. Little is known of the sacrifices artists have to make in order to see their dreams come to life. Unless they have a chance to firsthand experience each step, consumers usually only see the final version of any given product.

To hurl Tales Of The Fractured Mind across the finish line, Roddy and Rolands had to rely on their own community. The team turned to crowdfunding and hoped for enough people to take an interest in their creation. Obviously, such a bold move could have yielded unpredictable results. In our interview, we took care to ask the two what exactly went through their mind as they tagged along for the right.

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“You never know (what to think). Everyone that does a Kickstarter always has that doubt, I think. What if nobody backs, what if nobody cares? That’s probably my biggest fear as a creator”, said Roddy. Campaigns such as these are always a risky leap of faith, with no way to be sure of the results before they’re in. The fate of the entire project often hangs in the balance, a detail that deters many from even trying.

Those who actually go for it might find themselves grasping at straws for their own survival. “I find it really hard at the moment with comics”, the writer from Northern Ireland added. “We consume so much, I do wonder if we truly take in a message”.

The Power Of Personal Experience

Fortunately, the people at Fractured Press didn’t exactly start with nothing. Both Roddy and Rolands have published works before, thus having a chance to get their own feet more than wet. Additionally,  in collaboration with UK-based charity Inspire, Roddy also worked with people who are dealing with mental issues.

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Among other things, the author currently meets with recovering patients and teaches them creative writing. Sincerely impressed by his line of work, we asked him to tell us a bit more about this job; “I think writing can help everyone”, was his prompt answer.

Roddy then moved to discuss the effects of creativity on mental issues. He told us that “talking about your feelings can be very beneficial”  and that he can’t but “feel that way about writing too”.

The perks of this activity don’t stop at that, though. “In the class there are people who write poetry, short stories and and some that even draw, so everyone can just do what makes them feel comfortable”. According to the author, his pupils contributed greatly to the creation of this project. Together, the group is also working on another book that might soon see the light of day.

Knowing all of that, it’s easy to understand how Tales Of The Fractured Mind is more than just a mere attempt to raise awareness. The topics discussed in the anthology, as well as the fact that parts of its content come from people who are battling these issues, give the book all it needs to fully achieve its objectives.

What About The Future?

For both Roddy and Rolands, this comicbook is only the beginning. Before we bid them goodbye, we took a few moments to discuss the current status of the industry as well as their next projects. The duo seems uncertain of the world surrounding them, but definitely have very specific goals.

“Our aim is to work with the best talent and make socially conscious comics”, the two artists confessed. In the next few years, the entire group at Fractured Press would love to turn into advocates for more serious and conscious works of art. It’s not sure whether they’ll do it alone or drag someone else into their adventure.

Tales Of The Fractured mind was a tiny masterpiece, we can’t wait to see what more these guys can offer! In the meantime, get yourself a copy and enjoy every minute of it!