Webcomic Wednesdays: Stand Still, Stay Silent

The Old World has ended.  For ninety years, the Nordic lands (Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland) have battled the terrors of the Silent World, keeping the creatures at bay.  But now, a small band of explorers is crossing the boundary, eager to rediscover lost knowledge.

Tuuri Hotakainen wants desperately to see the larger world beyond Keuruu, a small settlement in Finland.  When she gets a job offer to be mechanic for a research mission into the Silent World, she leaps at the chance, dragging her mage cousin Lalli with her.  Joining Emil Västerström the Cleanser, Sigrun Eide the Hunter, and Mikkel Madsen the Healer, the five are ready to venture forth.  But things get a bit tangled up when Reynir Árnason, a runaway from Iceland, joins them unexpectedly.  Here in the Silent World, Beasts, Trolls, and Giants reign.  If the group is to survive, they must follow the rule:  stand still and stay silent.

(L-R) Emil Västerström, Tuuri Hotakainen, and Lalli Hotakainen, three of the main characters

Stand Still, Stay Silent is the creation of Minna Sundberg, an unusual post-apocalyptic zombie story with Nordic traditions.  In the New World, technology is limited, as are aspects that most people would take for granted, such as animals.  Instead, magic has returned, with mages using old traditions to commune with the gods and ask for their blessings.  The story takes place in Nordic culture and is a mix of both the old and new, so readers unfamiliar with the culture and mythology may find it difficult to follow at first.  Sundberg however kindly provides information pages that help explain both the traditional and her original material. At least one main character is from each of the six countries, so all cultures and languages are represented.

Despite the references non-Nordic readers encounter, the fact it takes place in a region of the world that is hardly thought of by the Western World is the attractive factor.  Most fantasy stories will have a Western European influence, such as from the German or British traditions.  Other times, influence comes from conventional mythology, such as the Greek pantheon.  But the Nordic region is an area that is oftentimes ignored or simply not thought of.  Stand Still, Stay Silent finally gives the region a spotlight, where there is little to no influence from the outside world, exposing the culture and language through a webcomic.

Mages fighting monsters from the Silent World

The story takes place in a harsh environment, and Sundberg displays this well, often highlighting her pages with red, showing the impending danger.  Even when muted among other colors, the red is always visible.  In the beginning of the story, her lines and colors are distinct and separate, similar to conventional drawings but as the story progresses, they become blurred, resembling more a watercolor.  Despite the fantasy setting, her people are normal in scale and comparison, but the monsters in the Silent World show her true creativity, in a very horrific way.  These are not the normal rotting zombies, but something out of a nightmare that can’t be explained.

A post-apocalyptic story like no other, Stand Still, Stay Silent is far from over.  Read the adventures of Tuuri and the gang at SSSScomic.com.

SJ Pendergraft

SJ Pendergraft is a writer who enjoys webcomics, so she decided to combine the two and became a webcomic reviewer.

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