Nepotism /The Labyrinth

Posted: Monday, September 15, 2003
By: Darren Schroeder

Cover of Nepotism /The Labyrinth Writer(s): Geoffrey Hawley
Artist(s): Geoffrey Hawley, Janet Alexander, Russell Hawley, Marc Raab
Publishers: Spleenland Productions (Self Published)
From: USA
Price: $3.50(US)

This anthology achieves a surreal feel in four stories whose only link is Geoffrey's fresh way of looking at things. The nepotism half of the book contains stories that involve: a cute little creator asking for something from life and having to get buy without an answer, Some dinosaur like creatures who manage to be their own worst enemy, and a creepy tale about a lonely little boy who isn't much liked by trees. In the other half of the book we find The Labyrinth, a bittersweet fable about a man who bumps into two other versions of himself at different ages. They all visiting different labyrinths but find meet at the same bench.

Geoffrey seems to have no lack of interesting ideas on hand, and shows that he is well able to put them to work in producing intriguing short tales. While plot doesn't appear to be of interest to him, he keeps the readers from noticing with tales that weave the simple tasks with broad human issues. What's the meaning of life? Where can we find happiness? What's the nature of time? Like any good short story these get the simple bits right and sneak in the theme when the reader isn't looking.

Those with a taste for European style artwork with want to have a look at this book. The artists that Geoffrey works with all have their own distinct styles and certainly seem to have been matched with the story that will be complimented by their work. Janet produces a fantasy world of blobby creatures and fantastical urban structures. Russell animates the dinosaurs with skill, so that none of the action is ever compromises by any awkward anatomical work. Marc has no trouble at all with the kid and his spooky friends the trees. Some of the partygoers shown early in the story are a bit lifeless, but I suspect that might have been the point. Geoffrey's own work on The Labyrinth is in a simplified style that bears a resemblance to that of Scott McLeod in it's clean use of form.

In all there is much to appreciate in this anthology, so consider it recommended.

In a Word: Gutsy.

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