Monday, October 09, 2006

like that

“like that” is the first graphic novel from icon studios. If this first foray into graphic storytelling is any indication, then these guys have a great future ahead of them.

“like that” tells the story of two college students, Reed and Melanie, who are in love with each other. The problem is: one of them doesn’t want to fully admit it. Most of the story is told from Reed’s point of view. As he comes home to his apartment and shares with his friends, Ben and Conner, that he couldn’t break up with Melanie who he’s known for 2 months. After some ribbing from his buddies that rubbed him the wrong way, he tries to sleep off his heavy heart. However, after he wakes up, he comes across things in his apartment that bring back memories of his times with Melanie.

Writer Patrick Rills makes great use of this storytelling technique as he succinctly tells us all we need to know about Reed in several panels in the form of flashbacks. Patrick’s writing is easy to read and flows from page to page with a style that is compact in its narrative but chock full of empathy and emotion without being sappy and syrupy. Rills doesn’t overwrite his characters, which is a common error for most new writers. I’m not a great fan of this particular genre, but Patrick Rills’ writing really pulled me in from the first panel and captivated me until the last. Patrick produced, wrote, photographed and lettered this book. Patrick’s clean and crisp letters, captions and word balloons remind me of one of the top letterers in the industry, Todd Klein. Fantastic job!

The Allen Gladfelter’s artwork beautifully portrays distinctive features in simple but bold lines that are more realistic than caricatured. His line work is reminiscent of Michael Lark’s or Brian Azzarello’s. Finally, the cover and graphic design of the book was done by Heath Tullier wonderfully packaging the books overall attractive look.

Upon reading “like that”, you’d never think that this came from the creative minds of newcomers. This is a beautifully written, elegantly drawn story that captures your interest from beginning to end…only there aren’t megalomaniacs thrashing universes, but instead, just normal people trying to understand their hearts for one another. Readers can tell that this graphic novel is a labor of love.

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