Writer: Sam Read
Artist: Caio Olivera
Colours: Ruth Redmond
Cover: Ramon Villalobos
Lettering/Production: Colin Bell
In our first advance look at some of the most promising small press titles set to make their debut at next weekend’s Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds, we’re excited to be able to take a look at the debut title from Glasgow League of Writers (GLoW) member Sam Read.
Exit Generation is succinctly described by Read as a “tale of one boy’s search for purpose against a backdrop of space aliens, big firearms and punk rock”, and on those points, it most definitely delivers. Read’s writing is extremely confident for a first title, and I have to say that the first six-page prologue to Exiit Generation is an absolute storytelling masterclass, setting the scene perfectly and managing to handle the sizeable amount of exposition necessary for a title like this in such a straightforward, engaging manner. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I can’t remember the last time a small press comic made such a positive impression on me in such a relatively short number of pages.
The artwork here is provided by Caio Olivera, whose work you may remember from 2012 SICBA Comic/Graphic Novel of the Year, No More Heroes. Olivera does a terrific job for the most part, although while his work is extremely strong in the close-up, emotional portions of the comic, the detail does tend to suffer slightly in the wider shots and in scenes featuring crowds. Only a minor niggle however, and his work is brought to life by the extremely vivid colour work of Ruth Redmond. Redmond’s colours inject a sense of energy and liveliness into the proceedings, and avoid this book from becoming another pale, grey, ‘post apocalyptic’ tale.
Initially, I felt a little cheated that the story had jumped twenty years into the future, given how enamoured I was with the stunning opening. However, that disappointment quickly waned as the implications of the story’s beginning started to become more clear. The book also benefits from having such a well-realised and interesting main protagonist in Jack, a twenty year old who finds himself drifting aimlessly through his life in the ‘bold new world’ he currently inhabits.
The final part of the first issue sees the status quo shattered in a major way, and takes the book in an entirely different direction than the one I thought it was initially heading. This is no bad thing though, and given the sure hand that Read has displayed so far, I have every confidence that this title will continue deliver the goods as the rest of the story unfolds.
One of my only minor criticisms here, aside from the occasional loss of detail mentioned above, is the use of colour in some of the speech bubbles in the latter part of the book. I’m all for trying to make different characters sound different, and giving them distinctive styles or fonts goes a long way towards achieving this (as recently seen with Snyder/Capullo’s depiction of the Joker), but using white lettering on a lime green background was just a little hard on the eyes for me.
Overall though, Exit Generations is an extremely promising start, not just to this tale but to Sam Read’s writing career as a whole. And I can’t stress this enough, those first six pages are worth the cover price alone, given how truly beautiful they are in their storytelling simplicity. This is one that’s well worth getting your hands on, folks.
If you’re heading down to Thought Bubble this weekend, you can pick up copies of Exit Generations #1 from Table 2 in Royal Armouries Hall, where Sam will be on hand alongside fellow Glasgow chaps Colin Bell (who also provides his usual ultra-professional standard of lettering to this book), John Lees and Harry French.
And if you’re not, you can pick up a copy of the book online from http://www.readfrenchcomics.bigcartel.com
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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