At the tender age of 42, I’m discovering a part of the comic world that I hadn’t really seen much of. It’s been there for quite a while (I’m sure). As much as I love visual storytelling, comics and graphic novels were never my thing. So, I never really saw all that was out there.
It’s possible that what scared me off from the genre was that I wasn’t much of a superhero fan growing up. I like a good Iron Man movie, sure. And even starting checking out the very beginning of Marvel’s The Amazing Spiderman series from 1963 (a strong recommendation from a lifelong friend).
Anyway, with the comics iPad apps you there (I know, I know…sacrilege!!!), I started poking around and realized that there’s a world of comics in the slice-of-life category. THIS got me excited. It reminded me that one of my favorite movies, Ghost World, came from these books. I was reminded of the wildness of Harvey Pekar. (Although, I admit that my experience with his work and genius is limited to the movie American Splendor and his appearances on Letterman, of course).
So, I started with a few sample pages of Jeff Lemire’s Essex County. I was immediately in love. This art is fantastic … in fact it’s the art style that caught my eye. Exactly what I’m looking for. After a quick search for Lemire’s work, I discovered Lost Dogs. Downloaded it. TORE right through it. The art is SICK! It’s incredible. By the time I’d downloaded it, I realized it was his first published work. I could see the evolution of his style right away. (His lines are finer and images tighter in the later published Essex County.) But, damn! The bold, rough (almost scary) red and black and white style in Lost Dogs is so insane. I mean, it’s completely appropriate for the crude storyline … 8-foot brute finds himself in a dark place of violence where faces losing the only people in his life. I gobbled Lost Dogs right up and immediately went back and downloaded The Collected Essex County.
Here are a few of my favorite pages from the first story in the collection, Tales From the Farm. If you love art and storytelling, so far, here’s a recommendation. But check back….I’m just beginning my exploration!
And please, I’m looking for recommendations based on my new crush on Lemire’s work!