Northangle Nocturne #1

Posted: Tuesday, December 6, 2005
By: Darren Schroeder

Cover of Northangle Nocturne #1 Creator(s): Russ Miller
Publishers: Root Hog Press (Self Published)
From: USA
Price: $5.75(US)

Pen and paper, together they have the ability to create worlds. Just what sort of world is up to the person holding the pen and owning the paper. Most of the worlds created are copies of copies of rip-offs of a few good ideas someone else had before:

  • Man with gun seeks revenge
  • Super-hero saves everyone except herself
  • Martial arts with overdeveloped abs and glutes
  • The life of the creator sucks.
Readers are too forgiving - we get a little bit of pleasure from even the most clunky plot. We know what we like, and enjoy what we recognise. Creators know this, and for the most part cheat us of originality.

As a critic, I get overloaded some worlds. I never did like some, got sick of others and can't see what most people see in the majority of the rest. This leaves me with a few new, original, stimulating, undiscovered worlds that come along now and then. Going to those new places wakes me up, gets my attention, makes me think, and challenges me to pay more attention.

In this comic Russ wakes us all up. He's created a world I'm not familiar with. He introduces us to Northangle - a small town in Massachusetts. It has a Mayor who spends most of his time spying on the inhabitants through a telescope. There's a giant art galley (a gallery full of giant works of art, not just a giant art art gallery), and most of folks Russ introduces us to are eccentric without being goofy.

The central character and narrator of the book is part philosopher, part drinking buddy. He looks like one of the beagle boys gone straight. His self-reflective discussion concerns the town, the reader and our place in the scheme of things. He walks through the town chatting with the reader and his neighbours at a comfortable and leisurely pace. His observations are by turn hilarious and sagely.

To look at the the comic is very approachable. The cartoon style characters are amusing but several have a sad, pensive quality to them. The settings are detailed without becoming fussy. Russ draws scenes from interesting perspectives, so overhead views of rooms appear more than once, and curving lines of perspective mean the town hugs the landscape in a comforting manner. The town contains a charming range of weather and architectural styles.

This series has the makings of one that deserves success. Readers like me who wait patiently between issues of Palookavile and Berlin will find this a worthy book to fit into their buying schedule. It's clever without being flashy, and still oblique enough to keep the reader focused.

In a Word: Pithy..

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