You Don't Need to Know How to Draw

Longshot Comics #1, Slave Labor Graphics, January 1996
For the next 5 reviews, I'm gonna showcase comics that'll make you go "Whhaaaaa???!?" I don't know what'll be more difficult to believe: That they made a comic about this, that I have it in my collection, or that in some cases, I enjoyed it!

But I'm starting with Longshot Comics: The Long and Unlearned Life of Roland Gethers Book 1 (its full title), which I love. This is a minimalist comic book epic "spanning eighty-nine years in the British Empire" by fellow Canadian Shane Simmons. Well, let me show you what I mean by minimalist epic. Here's a sequence showing Roland's birth:
And the panels are a little bigger here than in the comic. You basically get an entire life in 24 160-panel pages. That's um... 3840 panels in a single comic. That's some maverick shit right there! Let's see an Alan Moore or a Frank Miller dish it out like this. In a world of boobular pin-ups and 16-panel comics, this is a breath of fresh ink.

Sure, you only see the characters from very, very far away, but that only heightens the pathos. I don't know about you, but I'm a sucker for that pathetic brand of humor, à la Chris Ware and ACME Novelty Library. Simmons manages to discuss a number of serious topics as Roland goes through life not relating well to his father or to his son, but there's also a lot of (dry) humor. Even in how he gets his name, for example:
Now I want to name my kid Deuteronomy. Roland also gets a chance to experience three wars. What's a war look like in Longshot Comics? Like a lot of small dots frankly, but sometimes it gets rougher:
Since this is Book 1, I waited with baited breath for a Book 2. Never got my hands on it. Thought about putting my eyes out, but I could just have reread Book 1 which would have had the same effect on my eyesight. Googling it now, I find that you can get everything Simmons has ever done from his website, Eyestrain Productions, including #2: The Failed Promise of Bradley Gethers. Have to see about getting it. Meanwhile, get yourself Book 1 and read it. Better art than 90% of early Image Comics and a true 24-page novel.

1 comments:

googum said...

You know, I've seen Brian Bendis use that same style in one of his Jinx specials. It puts a lot of dialogue on one page...as opposed to blowing it up to a trade, I guess.

 

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