by James Hindle
One Percent Press
Hindle is an extremely talented artist and Knives is just one exercise in brilliance. His recent mini-comic rings with childhood innocence, guilt and reasoning as a young boy witnesses a very complicated incident between his family and the man who mows their lawn.
Knives is told from a first person perspective, but it’s just too bizarre and full of nuance to possibly be a story from Hindle’s personal experience. Told over a mere 24 pages, sized 3.75″x4.5″, the comic’s economy is just part of its appeal. I love that something so well-made and interesting is also so petite. Hindle packs a lot into this little book that rewards multiple re-reads. It would make a great introductory comic for high school English Literature class rooms.
Knives involves the reader right away, setting the tone with Saturday morning cartoons, summer vacation, cereal, and sunbathing girls. Everything seems right and fun with the world, but briskly things change. The biggest theme, I think, is age. The story’s four main characters all flirt with acting more or less mature than they should be naturally. By the end, due to an awkward and strange series of events, the young boy somehow feels he has grown more responsible. The reader, hopefully, will read into this and realize the boy’s pride is totally ridiculous. I don’t want to say too much, but it’s explanation enough to call it a thinking man’s comedy. It’s the sort of book that will say different things to different people – generally the mark of any good book.
Artistically, Hindle’s gentle line work is accented slightly with patches of flat, medium gray. Every page is creatively arranged and laid out, so take pause to appreciate it. My favorite page is broken up diagonally by a man mowing the lawn. His drawings carefully consider pace and the reader’s perspective. It’s just a good way to write comics if you’ve got the means and time and talent to draw a little outside the grid, which Hindle does and has and is.
Knives is available for $2 from One Percent Press. The mini’s cover has two colors screen printed on a brown cardstock cover and stapled twice along a neatly pressed edge. My advice is just buy the whole One Percent Press catalog. Everything they put their name to is good.
- Sarah Morean