Writer: Sam Read
Artist: Caio Olivera
Colours: Ruth Redmond
Lettering/Production: Colin Bell
Cover Art: Ramon Vilalobos, Joe Mulvey
Release Date: 23rd September, 2015
It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost two years since I reviewed the first issue of Exit Generation prior to its debut at Thought Bubble 2013. How time flies, eh? Well, this week sees the direct market release of Sam Read and Caio Oliveira’s punk rock space opera courtesy of the fine folks at ComixTribe, so I thought this might be a good time to take another look at the first issue with a fresh pair of eyes.
The book that’s fixing to hit comic shops around the world this Wednesdays is almost identical to the original comic I reviewed back in November 2013; a comic which was incredibly polished for a small-press title in the first place (thank you Colin Bell), so a lot of what I said back then will still apply. That said, knowing now what I do about the rest of the series, as well as seeing several small adjustments that have been made over the last two years – no more white-on-lime speech bubbles, for instance – it’s definitely worth taking another look at this one.
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 what was then his first title (a trend that would continue on his subsequent projects like FIND and Cornucopia), and it’s safe to say that the first six pages of this issue are nothing short of a storytelling masterclass, setting the scene perfectly and managing to handle the sizeable amount of exposition necessary for a title like this in a straightforward and utterly emotional manner.
Back in 2013, I noted that I couldn’t remember the last time a small press comic made such a positive impression on me in such a relatively short number of pages, and it’s worth mentioning that, two years on, this is pretty much still the case. Over the years, Read has shown an uncanny knack for cramming complete stories into relatively small page counts (again, see one-shot FIND and four-page Cornicopia for further proof), and while the subsequent issues of Exit Generation would go on to build a fully-realised, intriguing world, Read’s self-contained storytelling over these first few pages provides the hook that reels the reader in for the rest of the story.
The artwork here is provided by Caio Oliveira, whose work you may remember from 2012 SICBA Comic/Graphic Novel of the Year, No More Heroes. Oliveira does a terrific job for the most part here with his cinematic layouts and dynamic characters, although while his work is extremely strong in the close-up, emotional portions of the comic, the level of detail does tend to suffer slightly in the wider shots and crowd scenes. Only a minor niggle however, and his work is enhanced impressively 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 yet another pale, grey, ‘post apocalyptic’ snoozefest.
Initially, I couldn’t help but feel a little cheated that the story immediately jumps twenty years into the future, given how enamoured I was with the stunning opening. That disappointment quickly waned, however, 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 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 from 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 (spoiler: it does).
Overall, this is an extremely promising start, not just to this tale but to Sam Read’s writing career as a whole. Kudos to ComixTribe for realising the potential in this particular story, and for helping to offer it up to the worldwide market. Simply put, Exit Generation is a raucous, frenetic dose of sci-fi insanity with some genuine emotion at its core. Also, and I can’t stress this enough, those first six pages are absolutely worth the cover price alone, given how truly beautiful they are in their storytelling simplicity. This is a new series which is definitely worth getting your hands on, folks.
Joe Mulvey INSANELY awesome interlocking variant covers for all four issues
[CLICK TO ENLARGE]
In case you missed it, we recently revealed Sam Read’s latest project, a four-page short story entitled Cornucopia, which you can read in its entirety by CLICKING HERE.
You can also check out our recent interview with Sam where he talks a little more about his career so far.
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
Article Archive: Ceej Says