Customer Review

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not all comics are black and white., 2 May 2008
This review is from: Funeral of the Heart (Paperback)
I have a very soft spot for the work of Thomas Ott, the graphic artist par excellence of the scratchboard, whose masterwork, Dead End, deserves to be read by anyone interested in comics. I was enticed into buying this book, Funeral of the Heart, solely from the publisher's short blurb in Previews and by the fact that Leah Hayes is another exponent of the scratchboard. To surmise that you will like her work because you might like Thomas Ott's is like saying that you will like Neal Adams's work if you like Gary Panter's (or, perhaps more appropriately, vice versa) just because they both work in the medium of comics. So when I opened the book for the first time I was taken aback and originally wanted to put the book straight onto eBay, unread, and chalk it up to experience. If there can be polar opposites in the field of comics using scratchboard then Leah Hayes and Thomas Ott occupies those positions. Ott's work is almost wordless and he takes away from the board what would normally be left bare if you used a normal pen or brush; Hayes' work is wordy, laboriously so with whole pages painstakingly handlettered, where for the most part what is taken away being what a normal pen or brush would put down. There is no denying the amount of work put in to the drawings and there are some pages of the book which really stand out (such as the gnarled hand of the dead grandmother, or the page with the duck being embraced). However, it is the melancholic sadness of the stories which are most affecting. All five stories take place in a non-specific time and geographical location which makes them easily identifiable with and understandable. They are almost like haunting children's stories which refuse to conclude with a happy ending (and are all the better for that). They, for want of a better term, take time to grow on you and in this respect they are diametrically opposed to the viseceral head-on power of Ott's work. I never did put the book onto eBay in the end. Consider that a reserved recommendation. Not better than Ott, not necessarily worse; just different and worth your time if you can partially read the book in Waterstones or, I don't know, pick it up cheaply on eBay.
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Initial post: 1 Jun 2013 22:20:12 BDT
monica says:
Thanks for a very informative and helpful review.
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