The Originals – Dave Gibbons

Dave Gibbons drew and co-created the landmark Watchmen with Alan Moore. But as this book shows he is so much more than that legacy. This is Quadrophenia – almost to a T – but with hover scooters. In a retro-futuristic world one young man’s life changes forever in a touching and sincere coming of age story. Everything about this is perfect. The storytelling, the drama, the invented youth-speak, and the wonderful art.

You would class the drawing as black and white but I have never seen so much depth in grey before. Although the character’s faces are quite simple there is a lot of expression and emotion conveyed. It’s not just the wonderfully rendered panels that are perfect but even the space in between. The pages are matt black and the generous margins really focus your attention. Often narration will appear as white text in the margins and it so much more effective and atmospheric than if it were traditional white on black.

The future setting does not intrude save for hover vehicles. The world is decaying East-End London streets. The obligatory trip to Brighton is to a domed waterpark but everything else including the clothes and hairstyles could be from the seventies. This realistic grounding ensures there are no barriers to the emotional resonance of the story.

Absolutely brilliant in every respect and thoroughly British. Must be a Double Thumbs Up!

152/213.

Tomorrow: Combat Zone: True Tales Of GI’s In Iraq – Karl Zinsmeister

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