Friday, 5 April 2013

Swoon Now! Julio's Day

Just wanted to round off the week with a mention of an extraordinary new book by Gilbert Hernandez. Julio's Day (Fantagraphics) tells the story of a man's life - but it's one hundred years of life and it's told over one hundred pages in the book. Regular readers of Gilbert Hernandez will know about his ability to cover years, even decades between panels with the deft hand of a magician (no calenders or seasonal-looking trees and certainly no headers). But the breadth and scope of this character study is quite stunning particularly as it's not built on high drama. In fact, in dramatic terms it's a flicker-book approach to a man who lead a relatively uneventful life; but it's all the more human for it and therefore all the more engrossing because the god is in the details; seemingly random threads find their own importance. 

The trade-off is that it requires a full attention from the reader - keeping an eye out for a character that has aged and remembering names (not something one usually has to be too concerned with in a visual medium). But the 100 years/100 pages facet of the book never comes across as a gimmick making this feat of ultra-compressed storytelling all the more impressive. Note: A few pages have been previously published in Love & Rockets New Stories.

The pacing of a scene never appears to be compromised

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