Sunday, June 30, 2013

Woodboy - Bad Place Productions

Hauntingly Good Book

Over the weekend I had the great pleasure of attending the Derby City Comic Book Convention in Louisville, Kentucky.  I also had the even greater pleasure of meeting Johnathon Hodges of Bad Place Productions.  Over the course of the afternoon we spent hours in friendly conversation sharing what was clearly a mutually shared love for comic books.  Eventually John wound up handing me a comic book with the invitation to read it.  The book he handed me was the one you see pictured above, Woodboy.

Upon returning to the table I was manning with Brandon Johnson of Studio Akumakazi I sat down and began reading what would soon prove to be one of the very best comic books I've read in a long time.  There are actually two stand alone stories in the book and even though they share no common elements they somehow fit together like Yin and Yang producing a complete vision.  

The first story is that of the main character's (Woodboy) search to find his mother and thus discover his roots and origin in the world in which he dwells. I was immediately struck by the marvelous black and white illustrations of creator and artist Dave Watt.  His work is both unique and evocative.  I couldn't help but think of Clive Barker's Weaveworld.  This is how the magical creatures of the ancient times, before the coming of man, would've drawn their stories upon the cave walls hidden deep within the mountains of Fugue.

The story read and felt like an ancient myth, passed down from generation to generation since the predawn of time. It felt as if I'd discovered a sacred scroll long forgotten.  Upon unrolling it I discovered a piece of myself I'd never realized was missing until the strange symbols drawn upon it revealed its absence to me. I loved it and felt myself a better person for having read it.  I was very impressed with the execution of this story and the emotional response it evoked in my heart.

The second story in the book, Apocalypso, is a tale about the ending of times.  Although completely unrelated to the story of Woodboy in either epoch or characters it felt as if it fit with the story I'd just finished reading and somehow fulfilled a vision neither story could have completed without the other.  Apocalpalyso is at the same time both horrible and beautiful.  There is something profoundly deep and honest about it that is difficult to label.  It damn near brought tears to my eyes at the same time I wanted to recoil in revulsion and flee in horror from it.  Apocalpalyspo was powerful and unexpected.  It left me stunned and in awe of the mind that had produced such a story.

This book and the time spent in conversation with Johnathon Hodges about it afterwards made me remember why I've loved the art form of the comic book for all these years.  It was a celebration when I ran back to Johnathon's table proclaiming, "Holy shit, that was incredible!"  

The man just smiled and said, "Wait til you see what's coming next."

I can hardly wait.  This man's got something good happening over at Bad Place Productions and I'll be keeping a close eye on this group of folks.  I suggest you do too.

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