Creed Re: Imaginary is a story for those who dream up worlds to escape to and get lost in their own imagination.
Creed doesn’t have a cool costume or big muscles. He doesn’t carry a huge gun and didn’t want to bring justice to the streets of New York. He only ever sought to have a sense of belonging when he felt lonely and isolated, he would escape into his world of creation.
Mark Farley has been fearful to return to the dream world because of his past failures. Desperate to escape reality once more, he ventures into the dreamscape, only to find that an old rival has been enslaving creatures to dig up for the original dream stone, which grants the power of creation to anyone who wields it. But just as the wielder of the stone can grant infinite creation, it also grants the power of destruction. Together with new friends, Mark must face his worst nightmare yet, and rescue the entire dream world, or cease to exist along with it.
The creative team of “Creed Re: Imaginary” consists of Trent Kaniuga as the main artist, writer, and letterer. Danny Kong and Jenny Brozek were the colorists. The logo design was done by Jeff Lawter, and variant cover art by Ethan Van Sciver and Matt Martin.
Creed Re: Imaginary is a Fantasy and Adventure comic book series for kids and adults. It’s a continuation of the 1994 Creed Imaginary comics. The story is told in modern times with current references used in American English dialogue. The books are stapled in floppy format. The interior art for issue 1 and issue 2 is printed on good quality paper. The books are a 2-part miniseries published by ALL CAPS Comics founded by Ethan Van Sciver.
ISSUE #1 THE WORLD YOU LEFT BEHIND (PART 1)
We get introduced to young Laney and Mark Farley. They seem to be in the woods. Laney is parting ways with Mark in the worst possible way. Mark is left heartbroken. We learn that the world they were in is not real and that after the separation Mark decided to walk away from that place, but he didn’t want to go back to reality, so he immersed himself in making creations for his fantasy world. How he does it will be explained in Issue #2. He mentions that he created ALL his closest friends.
Nine years later, we see a 17-year-old Mark at school with a talking frog on his shoulder called C.J. His best pal (friend). We learn he is interested in a particular girl and usually deals with bullies. In this particular instance, C.J helps him by scaring off the bullies.
By now I’m wondering whether CJ is imaginary or not. How does he transform into a giant dragon to scare off the bullies? CJ is supposed to be a Dragon/Frog morphing Guardian from the dream world. By now we understand that there are 2 worlds: the real world and his imaginary world, the dream world.
Then we meet Walter, a teen “camping” on top of the building where Mark lives. He is not surprised to see CJ in dragon form or hear him talk. Walter convinces Mark to write about his adventures in the dream world. Mark then shares his story about the dream world. He explains the origins of the dream world:
“Just beyond our own dimension, just outside the conscious mind, lies another realm. Its intricate fabric weaves us all together through our connected subconscious minds. The ancient people of our world thought of it as a spirit world. Every living human goes to that place when they sleep. When the conscious mind rests, the subconscious mind takes over. There, spirits guide you through adventures that are forgotten upon your awakening.”
We learn that Mark’s conscious mind is always aware. For him, both worlds are his reality. Initially, he would remain in the dream world where he could create anything but then ashamed of his failures he vowed not to return. He stopped creating and became a passive observer.
The entire world was left unfinished, unchecked, and adapting on its own. The creatures had been abandoned by their creator and left to fend for themselves for years. Some parts of the world turned so dark, incentivizing the self-destruction of other creatures. Everything that loses their purpose, drive, inspiration, their will to live and are driven by their fears and insecurities will turn into stone in that part of the world.
ISSUE #1 FAITH IN GHOSTS (PART 2)
After 9 years Mark returns to the dream world and sees how the world has changed after he abandoned it with the help of a little friend, he realizes the beauty of the place he created he found meaning and never wanted to leave.
Back in “reality”, we see Mark and Walter deliberating about the stories for the comic book. He mentions one of his creations, his mentor figure, old Henry Lamplight. He mostly showed up just to unblock painful memories.
In the dream world, we see Mark continue his exploration and discover a place with an apple tree where creations like his little friend are enslaved to work for an old acquaintance of theirs. Laney is doing everything possible to obtain the dream stone which contains the power of creation so she can recreate everything according to her standards.
ISSUE #2 APPLE THREE (PART 3)
The second issue starts with Mark escaping from Laney. He gets into an accident and falls into the water. When he wakes up, he is with old Henry Lamplight on a boat who helps him remember his most guarded and abandoned memories. These memories unravel the true origin of the dream world. Some memories are not coming back.
We learn about his broken family and how he discovered the dream world when he was running away from the shadows that tortured him because of the absence of his dad when he was 8 years old (I’m assuming). His mother once told him that they did not exist and gave him a locket that played the song she always would hum to make him sleep.
While running deep into the woods he falls and meets Laney, a very nice girl. The moon was their compass, their beacon while they were away in the wilderness. It would guide them back together when they got lost. It was the first time Mark was able to rest peacefully.
That place in the forest where they met had suddenly grown into a whole new world. There stood an apple tree that seemed to have burst into life and lived a hundred years already. Once they ate from the tree, they were given the power of creation. They could create everything they wanted. As they are creating stuff together Mark realizes they both have different perspectives.
Laney wanted all her creations to be perfect, those that weren’t were eliminated. After that realization, everything changed. The power of the dream stone, the apple tree, and all their creations had dried and withered and the shadows that once pursue him returned in full force. The shadows which are the manifestation of his fears known as Skeeziks became flesh and bone, and Mark was their main target during all these nine years. Now he is on the run from Laney trying to get back his memories.
ISSUE #2 APPLE THREE (PART 4)
Laney finds his hideout and the fight begins. Mark realized he still has the dreams tone and the chance to win. The dream stone falls during their fight into the dark section where you can turn into stone. Laney could not fight it anymore and turned into stone. Mark then ate the dream stone, an action that set all creatures free, and it also helped him reclaim his place as the “Creed”.
By the end, we learn that the mini dragon that was always by is his side is CJ. Back in reality we see Mark interacting with Walter and then going to his room to start drawing his comic book. Mark realized that Laney had a bad father and that her home life was difficult. Laney wanted to burn it all down and get rid of anything that made her upset. The power of creation turned her into a villain. Mark chose another way.
He took all his experiences and turned them into something meaningful. Even though his life was difficult he wouldn’t change or reimagine a single moment because it all led him to where he is now. He jokingly says to has preferred to get the girl in the end but there is still time. His life journey is just starting.
In the end, Mark becomes a comic creator. His comics document his travels into the dream world dimension as the “Legendary Creator” Creed.
Both books have ads for Kaniuga’s previous work by the end of the book. Issue 2 has the lyrics to the song “Innocent when you dream” by Tom Watts. You will also find the original covers of the 4 issues of Creed Imaginary published in 1994. I did not read these issues, so the world of Creed is completely new to me. The story is a little difficult to follow if you are a first-time reader. I think that is why after reading these two books I had so many questions:
- What is his imagination and what is reality?
- How come CJ can scare off the bullies? He is seen by the bullies as a giant Dragon. How is that possible?
- Is Walter real or imaginary? In the beginning, Mark mentions that he created all his friends. Does that include Walter? I’m not seeing him having any interaction with other human beings except for Mark.
- When did Mark realize that the dream stone was in his mother’s locket and that it was the source of power?
- How did he still have the dream stone to fight back?
While reading the book I felt like I’m missing parts of the story. It’s the opposite feeling I had when I was reading Miss Fury: Joy Division for the first time. Even though I knew nothing about her the writer added explanatory notes and references to the old strips which made me more comfortable reading the story.
EXPERIENCE WITH THE CROWDFUNDING PROJECT
When I finally decided to back this crowdfunding project last year, after finding out about crowdfunding entertainment, I chose the book tier with the variant editions which includes the Progress Studios edition and the retro’s 90’s edition. And I also got the Cyberfrog Unforgettable tales #4: Cyberfrog vs Creed.
The project was one of the first ones I backed back at the beginning of 2021. Fulfillment was done in December 2021. However, the project was in demand for a long period as I understand. I’m slowly learning about how long a project stays active before fulfillment and delivery of the rewards. The long wait can be frustrating sometimes.
The tracking number for the package was timely provided through Indiegogo and arrived with no issues. In addition to the books, I also received the CJ The Frog sticker and the Creed Dragon sticker. The Creed trading card was sent separately in an envelope via mail. However, not everything was perfectly packed. The CJ The Fog sticker was folded in the package. It’s just a minor mishap I guess if it was just a one-time error.
Creed has an important message of overcoming your personal demons by confronting them and finding a purpose to live on. Embrace those short moments for the time that they last. Letting go of hate and grief is the only thing that makes us free to live, and able to enjoy and embrace those moments. Most of us can identify with Mark. We’ve all faced difficulties at some point in our lives and the need for escapism has always been there.
The art looks interesting the colors look washed out which could represent the emotional state of the character but it’s the same style for both worlds. Maybe it would have been interesting to have that style representing the real world and then have bright colors for the dream world?
Maybe an omnibus with all the stories interconnected would be great to have. It appears, there is even a Creed and TMNT crossover comic from 1995?
Further, it could be helpful to consider an editor for the next print. There were a few sentence structures that sounded weird, when you say them out loud like “unblocking memories that are locked up” shouldn’t it be “unlock the memories” instead of unblocking?
Overall, Creed Re: Imaginary was an interesting read. If you can find the 1994 issues it will be an even more interesting experience however, the physical copies of those are very difficult to find.
As of date, the crowdfunding campaign for Creed Re: Imaginary 1 and 2 is closed but you can find the books for sale on eBay in Trent’s store.
Interested in more titles? Check the latest publications from the “EYES ON” series wherein I documented my experience with crowdfunding campaigns and shared my notes on the products I received: