"I don't get your comic. What is it about?"
UNDERSTANDING Unicorn Jelly
So what is Unicorn Jelly all about?
Unicorn Jelly is rather an unusual comic. This can confuse some folks, to say the least. In order to really understand Unicorn Jelly, you need to know that the story can be seen in many different ways, all of which are equally real...just different. These ways of seeing Unicorn Jelly are called 'Layers', or 'Levels'. Unicorn Jelly is a many-layered story. The key is to pick one, or more, or even all the layers that you want to enjoy. Unicorn Jelly is special in that it can be as deep and complicated as you want it to be, or as simple, too. Let's take a look at some of the layers, or levels of depth, of Unicorn Jelly!
Unicorn Jelly is a sci-fi story! It's about how a bunch of weird people do some stuff, run from some bad people, and eventually save everyone! It has really weird creatures, jelly-blob people, and a girl with pointy crystals sticking out of her head! They even get thrown off the edge of the world and eat poison and all kinds of things! Oh, there is this weird blob thing with a horn and a tail, and it thinks it is a unicorn or something. They run around with swords, but they have these flying machines too! People are dying all over the place, and then it gets all sappy for awhile, but then more cool things happen! It's really weird and stuff!
At the most basic level, Unicorn Jelly is a suspenseful, and sometimes exciting science fiction story. Unicorn Jelly is about what would happen if humans somehow became stranded for millennia in an alien universe...an entire cosmos other than our own, with physical laws, life forms, and rules that were totally alien to anything in our own universe. A place with big triangular plates instead of planets, and air everywhere instead of the vacuum of space. A universe where gravity is different, and even light isn't quite the same. In such a place, life would be a struggle for survival for humans. Unicorn Jelly is the story of how the humans found a way to live, and how that way was eventually changed forever, to something better, by a handful of people.
At the simple level, Unicorn Jelly is the story of how a very few outcast, insignificant people... including two young girls, a native Jelly person, and a mutant slime that believes it is a unicorn, manage to save their entire universe simply by having lived. The main characters of Unicorn Jelly are all eccentrics..they don't fit in, they are different, they do not conform...and this fact causes a chain of events that ultimately transform the entire way of life in the cosmos they live in. Unicorn Jelly is the story of how simply being yourself, being an individual, can change the world...even if you do nothing else to try to change things.
At this level, Unicorn Jelly is the story of how a rigid and corrupt society can be changed by the unbalancing presence of nonconformists, and is also a tale of responsibility. The stranded humans of the alien Tryslmaistan universe long ago made a terrible mistake, which is leading, inevitably, to the ecological devastation, the very destruction of the entire universe they now inhabit. Running from their terrible act, the humans have constructed a terribly controlled, totalitarian society, designed for only one purpose: the survival of the human species. This goal is pursued without any concern for anything beyond it, and in the end, the plan will fail. The heroes of Unicorn Jelly are all mutants, eccentrics, outcasts and individualists. Uni, the mutant native slime that starts the whole saga, is driven by an impossible ideal of perfect love, as embodied in the symbol of a unicorn. This ideal inspires a restless and disenfranchised young girl, Lupiko, to adopt a freakishly hybridized little girl, Chou, as her daughter. Chou, changed forever by being infected and altered by alien material, turns out to be superintelligent and almost devoid of emotion. Lacking feelings, Chou could be the greatest danger, or the greatest benefit, ever known to the humans of Tryslmaistan. Because she is raised by Lupiko, and taught the value of love and compassion, her abilities are directed towards a positive direction. In the act of simply trying to survive in a rigid and narrow culture, the little family inadvertently ends up disrupting that society, which in turn leads to a chain of events that will lead to saving the universe as a whole. Unicorn Jelly can be said to be about how even the most insignificant people can sometimes change the world, and how every life is important in the scheme of things. Above all, Unicorn Jelly suggests that we are responsible for our actions in the world, and for the world we help to create.
An advanced appreciation of Unicorn Jelly takes all the other levels into consideration, and adds to it an understanding that the story also explores the nature of how humans understand the world. Unicorn Jelly uses a metaphor-laced saga of adventure to explore how people construct reality...either as a collection of facts, or as a body of arbitrary beliefs, and how each way of seeing the world has specific uses and failings. Unicorn Jelly is a subversive work, in that it suggests that in order to avert catastrophe, the individual must define themselves independently, developing a unique and constantly growing identity and morality, flexible enough to adapt to change, but steadfast enough to make for reliable and trustworthy social interaction. Unicorn Jelly denounces the commonality of the rote-learning method of ethical development, as well as any act of accepting any one worldview as Absolute. Against the backdrop of a dying universe, a rigid and self-serving society, and the plight of the death of all living things, a handful of individualists and nonconformists succeed in becoming the salvation of the cosmos; Not because they intend to do so, or even imagine that they know how to do so, but instead essentially by merely existing. Unicorn Jelly promotes the importance of embracing diversity by demonstrating how the mere presence of eccentricity or difference can act as a positive, healing, and constructive element in the world.
Unicorn Jelly is a philosophical science fiction manga strip which tells a metaphoric and purposeful story with a definitive beginning and ending. It is published every weekday
At this level, you already 'get' Unicorn Jelly and do not need any help. Indeed, you are deliberately adding your own layers and levels of meaning of your own creation, choosing to use Unicorn Jelly as a toy for the exploration of your own understandings and feelings.
You may have already invented ten different ways that I could probably do things better, if only I weren't so pigheaded, and would bother to listen.
And you would be right.
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by Jennifer Diane Reitz
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