Crude #1-8

Posted: Tuesday, June 1, 2004
By: Darren Schroeder

Cover of Crude #1-8 Creator(s): Michael Joyal
Publishers: Nordic Press (Self Published)
From: Canada
Price: $1

Crude city, where people like you and I live. Most of them have crummy jobs and relieve the monotony of of life with a few drinks and other recreational drugs. They dream of finding love but live with loneliness and visions of madness. Some bad things happen here - serial murders involving hacking and disfigurement, grafting computers to humans in a sad parody of some science fiction wonder.

Michael seems to do one issue per year, and over the course of these issues his illustrations have become more confident - he can leave large bits of the page blank , staggering panels and text in almost poetic combinations. The stories are told mainly through first person narration, and are full of insecurity and discomfort. Few of the characters seem to be happy, and if they are it doesn't last long. The illustrations reflect this sadness, showing characters that are aggravated and uncomfortable. In the most recent issue several of the pages use grey ink washes, more painterly than most that have proceeded, and fare calmer.

Some of the early stories display black comedy , with one involving a guy wondering if he should talk to the girl of his dreams. He can't help imagining the worst reactions from her. There are some great effects used here, that poetic tone making much of the work memorable. These are adult stories - not explicit, but serious. A few have fantastical elements to them, but they remain in the territory of believable emotions doubts. Michael doesn't fall back into clichés - his skill with the medium insuring a satisfying read.

In a Word: Inventions.

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