The Nobody by Jeff Lemire

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The Nobody
By Jeff Lemire

jefflemirethenobodycoverThere are only five stories in the world—or maybe six or seven. The number varies slightly between tellings, sure, but the adage remains more or less the same. When boiled down to their purest essence, mankind has, in a sense, been reliving the same basic conceits since the dawn of storytelling. The moral, of course, is that the skill ultimately lies not in the story itself so much as the way it’s told. It’s one of the first lessons a low-level instructor will impart on you toward the beginning of nearly any creative writing course.

The concept is embraced to its fullest when artists opt to eschew the illusion of fresh storytelling in favor of an open retelling of some much-loved piece of art. Upon wrapping up his oft-lauded Essex County trilogy for Top Shelf, that’s precisely where Jeff Lemire went, choosing as his jumping off point H.G. Wells’s beloved science fiction allegory, The Invisible Man.

In adapting (or perhaps more appropriately, reimagining) the story, Lemire embraced yet another bit of creative writing 101: write what you know. For a backdrop, the artist provides us with Large Mouth, a small, rural town though ought prove rather familiar to those acquainted with the streets and farms of Essex County.

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Essex County Vol. 3: The Country Nurse by Jeff Lemire

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jefflemirethecountrynursecoveerIn The Country Nurse, the final installment of Jeff Lemire’s Essex County trilogy, the artist is obsessed with images—the image of the open farmland of Essex County, the image of a crow flying in front of the moon, the image of a boy growing up and learning the truth about who he is. He uses these composite images to complete a larger picture, started in the first two books in the series, of Essex County, a fictionalized version of his hometown.

In a real sense, then, Essex County is the protagonist of the three books. Whereas so often in series based on locations—consider any TV show set in a particular locale, for starters—the plots of the characters’ lives become the focus of the story, here the reverse is true: The tales of these characters are woven into the larger fabric of the story of Essex County, and the stories are important not so much for what happens in them as for how they represent life in the county. The lives of the people in Essex County become emblematic of the place, rather than subsuming it with their own drama.

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The Daily Rock Hatch: Eddie Argos

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In which members of the rock community tearfully reveal their geeky comic obsessions, beneath their hardened irony-based exoskeleton.

“Modern art,” Eddie Argos proclaims unapologetically in the song of the same name, “makes me want to rock out.” The lead-singer (well, the lead talk-singer) of Art Brut naturally goes on to rattle off a number of side effects of said artistic period on his temperament, culminating with the head butting of a Matisse in Paris’s Pompidou.

The song is standard Art Brut—raucous, hilarious, and catchy as all get out. And naturally, anyone who has picked up the band’s self-titled debut on which the track appears, has little question about the frontman’s opinions on the world of fine art.

Most of us, however, didn’t catch wind about Argos’s sequential art obsessions until recently, when it was announced that the singer would be penning a column of comic criticism for St. Louis-based entertainment publication, PLAYBACK:stl. Argos, a self-proclaimed DC Comics junkie devoted the first installment of his
“Pow! To the People” column to superhero, Booster Gold. He’s subsequently tackled the world of Angel and Captain America.

After a too-long hiatus, we’re extremely excited to welcome The Daily Rock Hatch with a very special geeking out by Eddie Argos. Read the rest of this entry »