Saturday, 11 June 2011

Review: Pneuma by Dan Locke

I'm very lucky to have one of the very limited first print-run of this comic, that features the cover art on the left. Dan has since produced a second run, printed on very nice stock with a different, more minimalist cover, but I love this version, so I'm chuffed.

Anyway, cover aesthetics aside, let's get down to business!

Pneuma is a solid work, a collection of autobiographical comics (with one biographical), which transcends most of the autobio stuff out there. Every strip is interesting in it's own unique way, and it never feels samey, the stories suck you in and are very immersive, as is Dan's art style, which has developed from years of printmaking.

The comics use stong bold black and white contrast (although the art is printed on yellow paper) and solid grey mid-tones, and Dan plays around with this format with precision, creating striking work.

As for the stories, well they all have a personal and warm heart to them, and they intrigue, often amuse and occassionally beguile. The first story "No Word Of A Lie" is an account of the author's childhood experience of seeing what he believes to be a ghost. It avoids sensation and comes across as very plausible and a little unnerving.

"George Watts", one of the stories made especially for War: The Human Cost, is reprinted here and tells the remarkable true story of an old navy sea-dog from WW2.

"Green Fireball" is partly a youthful reminiscence, and part exploration and questioning of a 'UFO' seen in the sky by Dan and his teenage friends, which takes the reader through Greek Mythology to sci-fi X-Files territory whilst ruminating on this experience. It's good fun and also playful.

The final strip, is the longest and the most satisfying, which recounts a visitation in a dream, nudity, a thought-provoking discussion, sleepwalking, and a genuinely moving finale. I really don't want to give too much away, but this is a brilliant end to the proceedings, a beautiful little story which will stay with you.

I hope this review has inspired you to go and grab one of these beauties; you can check out more of Dan's work here and email him for a copy.

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