Friday Night is comic night for JB. I buy a new episode of the series I'm following, reading it along with a couple of instalments of other issues – some one-offs, some long form. How do I not get ahead of myself? Bundles. Because the cost of digitally publishing back issues is zero, most graphic novel publishers are more than happy to release very generous bundles, sometimes as freebies, sometimes as ridiculously cheap deals.
Comixology, one of the best comic book houses, recently offered a huge bundle of a hundred or so titles for less than ten bucks. I leapt on it even though many of them were teaser issues. Some were complete arcs however, and one in particular I enjoyed was an unconventional tale in the sense that it was an entirely conventional story. Snow, by Benjamin Rivers, has no superheroes, no magic, no future tech, no fabled realms. Just a simple story that pulled me all the way in.
Four issues, simply drawn; the tale of Dana, a thirty-something employee of a failing bookstore in Toronto. It’s winter, the city is snowbound. The once groovy street on which Abberline Books does less and less business, while paying more and more rent, is caught in an urban decay spiral. Some stuff happens, Dana copes or doesn't cope. Life goes on.
I’m not sure why I enjoyed it so much, and found it difficult to put down. I think it was the way Rivers managed to capture the characters with such spare illustration and economy of writing. It reminded me a lot of my own time in Darlinghurst in the 1990s, the Felafel period. I wasn’t at all surprised to discover Snow will be released as a film this year. I was sort of surprised to find out it had also become a game, but then Rivers is a programmer of note as a well as an illustrator.
Having enjoyed it so much, and paid virtually nothing, I felt honour bound to point a few other readers in his direction. The page for Snow is here, while Rivers main site is a good place to catch up on his other work, graphic novels or games.
And yes, Orin, I have a few issues of Transmetropolitan somewhere on my pad, and no Orin I haven't read them yet.