What is Left (2017)


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A ship that runs on the memories of one of its occupants malfunctions and collapses in on itself in the dead of space. Alive but trapped inside the reservoir of the ship’s memories, an engineer who survives the wreckage finds herself alone and stranded in a patchwork dream of someone else’s life.

Source: ShortBox

Notes on This Title

This 36-page short comic is as of May 2018 available exclusively via direct order from ShortBox. The queer representation in the comic is relatively subtle.


2018 Eisner Award Nominee for Best Single Issue/One-Shot


“Valero-O’Connell sets up stylistic boundaries and dazzles within them. What Is Left is a mere 36 pages long, and uses a limited two-colour lilac-and-pink palette, but it is as evocative as Interstellar’s IMAX-sized ‘love transcends time and space’ emotional denouement – and, in fact, it’s far more effective. Her technique is delicate and inviting, yet melancholic and a little enigmatic; like our protagonist, the reader intuits meaning from a series of emotional beats: learning to swim; witnessing a once-in-a-decade botanical phenomenon; a bustling family banquet; a tranquil moment alone; a devastating breakdown. These snapshots of Kelo’s life, from childhood to young adulthood, communicate a character, a world, a life. They also convey a fascinating, thought-provoking central theme, that memory may be the strongest power in the universe. After all, it can power spaceships, and sustain life.” (Source: SciFiNow)

“I am captivated by What is Left. Valero-O’Connell asks the reader to consider the complexity of others and to explore the ways we engage with those people. She explores the nature of human desire, the need of people to be seen and loved, the bitterness of regret, and the even more bitter realization that all things must come to an end. In some ways, it even approaches the age-old question, ‘What happens when we die?’ For such a short book, there’s a lot packed in. And thankfully, Valero-O’Connell pulls it off – What is Left is a fascinating read.” (Source: Sequential State)

“This comic opens with a fanciful conceit: the sole survivor of a spaceship explosion has become trapped, like an insect in amber, within physical globules of memory. As she explores the life of a woman she never knew, our protagonist reckons with the life she left behind, the life she finds herself trespassing in, and the death that certainly awaits her as her body floats through space. Valero-O’Connell’s lines are sinuous: hair is lustrous, vegetation snakes upward, and even the explosion of memories is rendered as a gorgeous flood of mauve gel. Alienation is terrifying and complete in these pages — but also, somehow, gorgeous.” (Source: The Verge)



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