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December 06, 2004

Comments

Todd Murry

Hi Marc,

For some reason, there has not been much talk about this book online. Could be the cost, I guess, but I think many who read it probably wanted to say something nice about what is obviously a labor of love for Gibbons, but were a bit uninspired by the thing.

I agree with you in that there is alot of good stuff here, mostly in the nice greytone art and the visual character bits. But I'm left a bit cold by it, mostly because he fails to pull together the stray bits of what reads like a morality tale into a satisfying ending. I would have been happy with the story either having a point - any point - or it clearly refusing to have a point as a statement of some sort, but the main character somehow feels incapable of coming to any kind of mental conclusion as to "what's it all about."

There was a good deal of interest here. From what I've read, Gibbons remembers his past involved in a similar "hate the others because they wear different clothes" mod background very fondly, and I suspected this was going to be an attempt to resolve (or at least examinethe conflict between) his fond memories, and what he likely feels, with hindsight, are the repugnant aspects. Although he gets a point or two from the lack of rose tinted glasses when representing the negative aspects of "his past," It doesn't feel like, at the end of the day, that he has said anything about it.

I'm not advocating an ABC afterschool special ending forking over a moral lesson, the ending we get just seems listless. Lel just does't seem sharp enough to make provide the self analysis we need for the ending.

Jon

I was wondering what Gibbons was up too.

The Originals creatively exploits comics' tension between art and narration, which you might expect from the artist behind Watchmen, but with a difference; this time, the tension lies between what's shown and what's not said.

This just makes it a "must get" for me!

Marc

Hi Todd,

While I wasn't wholly satisfied by The Originals either (the friend/girlfriend conflict didn't do much for me; thankfully it was shuffled offstage for the more interesting revenge plot), I thought the ending made the comic.

I agree that Lel isn't introspective enough to come to any sort of conclusions, and in a nice contrast to the steely resolve he displays in the final scenes he appears not to have learned anything at all from his experiences. But Gibbons is sharp enough, he knows what Lel's missing, and that disconnect between the author's insights and the narrator's is what makes the ending so wonderfully harsh.

I'm also surprised I haven't seen more discussion of this book. If the price has been the barrier, I'd encourage everyone who's interested to buy it for themselves for the holidays. (The nice fat discounts at Amazon or Barnes & Noble might help with that.) I'm extremely glad I did.

Tyler

Looks like a good read I'll have to fo to my local bookstore and grab it

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