What is Escapism?
Escapism tells the story of Jasmine – an introverted young woman who has become overly reliant on fictional forms of media to escape from her reality. One day, Jasmine is cut off from these means of comfort and is forced to face the fact that she is all alone…
or so she thinks.
What Jasmine doesn’t anticipate is that her loneliness is powerful enough to bring six of her favourite fictional characters to life; six characters she’s loved over the course of her nineteen years of existence.
With one socially uncertain girl and six fictional characters, now in the real world – Escapism is a webcomic that follows the everyday antics and adventures of the characters as they try to navigate life in the real world.
A story about love, isolation, escapism, and finding yourself in unexpected circumstances.
This is Escapism.
Or in other words, Escapism: not the reality check you were expecting.
Escapism is a constant work-in-progress, with the end goal of becoming a webcomic. Below are a few links to check out process, ideation, as well as the near-completed prologue chapter* of the comic itself:
* Chapter + comic will be uploaded to a webcomic / webtoon platform soon – stay tuned!
Plot + Origins
Escapism came about on a whim back in March of 2020, just as the first COVID-19 lockdown had been set in place. Due to being stuck in the house, the creator began to consume more media + entertainment than before, specifically, romance media.
One paranoid, stuck-in-the-house thought lead to another and eventually landed on the question of:
What if the characters I liked suddenly came to life?
And thus, a story was born.
Escapism began as a series of one-shot character antics and served as a parody of the creator’s own life, as well as a the romance media they were consuming. It was heavily influenced by dating sims, such as Cheritz‘s Mystic Messenger upon it’s creation, but gradually began to shift into a more linear narrative. Escapism still holds it’s meta, often intentionally trope-y charm and romantic undertones, but also dives into more the more serious side of relying on escapism and media consumption as a coping mechanism.
With themes such as social isolation, anxiety, and identity – Escapism aims to be a story with a message, tied together by the silly, yet heartwarming antics of a girl and her six fictional characters turned housemates.
Escapism has gone through a number of written revisions, coinciding with the structure of the story as it has changed over the years. Beginning originally as a series of point form actions + events, chronologically told, akin to that of a dating sim. It was later rewritten in a novel format, more emphasis on the narrative. The current iteration is a 23-page beat sheet, divided into chapters, that details each scene in a format that is able to be translated more efficiently into a comic. Escapism has 33 chapters, including a prologue, chapter zero, and an epilogue.
Below is a rough breakdown of the prologue chapter which goes into detail about the scenes, what they mean, represent, etc. This served as a base for creating the rough drafts.
A crucial part of Escapism‘s origin is the fact that it was initially inspired by dating sims, some examples including Mystic Messenger, Obey Me! Shall We Date? and Mr Love: Queen’s Choice – this setup became key in creating characters that filled the roles of dating-sim tropes. Each fictional character was inspired by a core trope or idea, often stereotypical archetypes that are found in these types of media (ie. the cool and collected type, fun-loving and bubbly, overly flirty, etc.) to serve as a parody, albeit, one coming from a place of affection.
Jasmine, the protagonist, stands in as the guide or anchor for the viewers. Her character is meant to be the most rational, realistic character because she is quite literally the only *real* character. She represents the perspective that viewers are meant to have, as well as stand-in as a representation of who the target demographic / audience would be.
Cipher: a fictional character who serves as the “bubbly, seemingly-carefree character with secrets” type
Jun: a fictional character who serves as the “cold, stoic character” type
Aki: a fictional character who serves as the “eccentric, over-the-top, flirty” type
Kaz: a fictional character who serves as the “can’t-connect-with-his-feelings, comes off as temperamental” type
Yumi: a fictional character who serves as the “over-the-top villain with a tragic backstory” type
Aryn: a fictional character who serves as the “typical strong-tough-woman” type
While at surface level, the characters are very 2-dimensional (no pun intended), Escapism follows each of them as they undergo growth in the real world, with the support of those around them.
About The Artist
Brie Wong is an Emily Carr Illustration graduate whose main focus is creating comics and short stories. Her work centres around themes of the human experience, to put it broadly – ranging from routines, specific experiences, perspectives, or in the case of Escapism, a realistic setup with some fantastical, comedic elements.
When not procrastinating in the forms of “finding inspiration” or crying with a pen in hand, she can be found indulging in her other creative outlets of cosplay-crafting and baking.
She can be found on most socials @briesarts