Friday, June 3, 2011

The All-Nighter # 1

What I try to do with reviews at this Bookshelf blog is keep it simple and spoiler-free, and let you know whether I'd recommend you pick up a copy of what I just read. Seems to work okay. This time, a brief review of The All-Nighter # 1 (Image, 2011).

The All-Nighter? That was the movie where Susanna Hoffs from the Bangles danced in her undies in front of the mirror, right? Some things you see as a teenager and just don't forget.

Well, anyway, after I bought a copy of the first issue of Suicide Girls but before the review went up, artist David Hahn sent out word that he has a new comic from Image, also called The All-Nighter, and asked whether reviewers would like to check it out. Happily, this is a much better bit of work than the Suicide Girls funnybook.

This story's about a twenty year-old art student called Kit who is trying to get out of a life as the lookout for a petty criminal - hey, art supplies are pricey! - and not having very much luck. Hahn plays a pretty tough balancing act to keep his protagonist sympathetic with home, roommate and romance issues while not going overboard with the pathos and turning this into something derivative of Jaime Hernandez. He doesn't quite pull it off from my perspective, but that's mainly because, extreme pinko liberal I may be on just about every issue, I kind of side with Ted Nugent when it comes to breaking and entering. Making Kit sympathetic to me is going to be a thankless task.

The artwork is just superb throughout, and while Suicide Girls, which was inked by Cameron Stewart, left the artist no challenges with its giant panels and boring settings, Hahn gives himself a hell of a lot to draw in this comic. When an artist is writing a script, he can cheat and get away from depicting the sweep of, for example, an incredibly busy and packed diner, or the very different interiors of multiple homes, but Hahn doesn't cut any corners. The comic simply looks great.

I enjoyed David Hahn's earlier series Private Beach, which really did veer too close to Hopey & Maggie fanfic, and am glad to see him still working in the medium. I wish that this story could have begun with Kit already putting the boyfriend she is trying to leave and crime behind her, but it's a very well-drawn tale with promise behind it. I'm curious what will happen next, and I owe a shop in the area a purchase, so I might just follow this one up. Recommended with reservations.

A PDF of this story was provided by the artist for the purpose of review.

No comments: