Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Placebo Man

Tomer Hanuka's The Placebo Man collects the first 5 issues of Bipolar, which he writes and draws with his brother, Asaf. Small examples of their work can be found on their blog Tropical Toxic. If I was to choose one to look at the work of from those examples, I think I would actually choose Asaf. However, it is now Tomer that I see in a longer form with this book.

The stories are all unrelated to each other. He seems to want to tell multiple stories at once and at first that means that even the story seems to have unrelated elements. It is extremely disjointed. I get the sense that the author sees some connection, but I'm missing it. I don't even see a clue to it.

In the later stories, he feeds his need to tell more than one story by use of flashbacks. The stories flow back and forth in time almost freely, but the attentive reader can follow the changes since there are distinctive elements in each time. Instead of multiple stories running parallel, these later chapters are a single story running through multiple times.

Each story is still often hard to follow. Sometimes the time change is marked by the same image made up of different elements, which can give such a smooth transition one may not notice for a couple panels that there was a change. Sometimes the only transition is the flip of a page.

The art is nowhere near as polished as the pieces seen on Tropical Toxic. It is black and white a bit rough. Of course, few people spend as much time on a single panel when it's part of a large whole as they do when it is the whole. The characters are each distinctive within a story except in a few stories where they are specifically left indistinct without so much as hair to differentiate.

I found a couple of the longer stories quite interesting, especially "Telekinetic". A couple others, "I Love You" and "Zina & Me" set off my "oh no, not superheros!" radar. It's not that they are superhero stories, they just hint at whatever that is that puts me off Superman.

This is, at times, an interesting read. But overall it may be just a bit too weird. Even for me.

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