Review: Bludgeon #0

Artist(s): Jeremy Owen.

It’s always fascinating to see how an artist develops and branches out. Case in point, Jeremy Owen, whose illustrations were collected in Burly #1. They were fun, and his interest in bearish guys was rather obvious, but illustrations and comics are two different beasts. Owen is now back with a comic where he can show his narrative skills, and he doesn’t disappoint.

In 20 pages, Bludgeon #01 introduces Mike, a bearish guy apparently in his forties who steps off a bus in Albuquerque (I’m very tempted to make a joke about taking a wrong turn, but I’ll refrain) and goes straight to a little café. What follows is a conversation between Mike and the barista about Mike’s reasons for coming there, his being gay, his interest in finding a permanent place somewhere in  town, for reasons that won’t be stated yet. So, for the most part, this looks like a story around a guy who’s decided to relocate. But there are hints that this not a slice-of-life comic (besides the cover, I mean): two customers at the café asking about a mysterious belt from Mike’s bag, and Mike’s clamming up and leaving immediately; words circled by Mike in newspapers articles, such “mysterious”, “disappearance” or “missing”… But of course, the big reveal comes at the end of the issue, when in an hotel room, Mikes take a shower (naked, wet bear alert, by the way) and opens his bag. And out of that bag comes…but that would be telling, wouldn’t it?

As I said above, Owen’s art is convincing, especially his storytelling, as solid as the art itself is grounded in reality. The thick line surrounding the characters (an aesthetic choice that a high-caliber artist like Bryan Talbot has used to great effect) gives them weight and depth, opening up the perspective in the panels. I think that if Owen can keep on drawing regularly for a while, he’ll become an artist to follow.

Jeremy Owen has made an interesting choice in this zero issue, which essentially acts as a prologue: not to give clear clues to what this story really about, but to make it all about the main character himself instead of about his powers or whatever that can be called. I must admit I was surprised at first, but I’m intrigued enough to want to see how Mike’s story will develop.

  1. You can buy this comic from the artist.

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