This month I am posting a review of a different self-published comic book each day for the rest of the month! Here is an archive of the books reviewed so far!
Today I am featuring Matthew Craig's Hondle Special Edition #1.
I'll be honest, like a lot of people, I'm sure, if you start talking about pet animals, specifically the lives (and deaths) of pet animals, you're going to get me to react to your work. Your work can be a terrible, cloying piece of crap, but you show me a dude grieving for his dead dog, and I'm going to have the exact reaction you want me to have.
So it is with great admiration that I can say that while, yes, Matthew Craig's Hondle Special Edition #1 DOES have that effect on me, it's done without the slightest bit of cloying writing. It is just a solid depiction of a man's experiences with his dog from the first time he met his dog until his dog's death.
And it is brutal without ever trying to hit you over the head with it.
To wit, check out the first page...
That right there gets you and the book keeps you there with the same sense of empathy and joy and sadness and an overall sense of connection - Craig gets you to connect with his experiences, so you feel his ups and his downs as he experiences Hondle's life and times.
It reminds me, in a lot of ways, of Warren Zevon's last album, The Wind. There, like here, Zevon does not get maudlin, he just shows his personality, and by the time the album is done, we're saddened at the loss of Zevon most of all because we have connected with him so well. And in the one song that is purely about his impending demise, Zevon hits us with the matter of fact line that Hondle reminds me of...
Sometimes when you're doing simple things around the houseMaybe you'll think of me and smile
That's what the loss of a person or a pet really is, and Craig gets that across in this comic wonderfully.
Craig did a lot of comics featuring Hondle in the past. You can read them on his website here, and that has a link to where you can purchase a copy of Hondle (for only $2 - plus shipping, I presume).
If you would like to participate in the month with your self-published comic, there most likely is still time (depending on how fast you mail out comics). Just check out the Review Copies section to see where to mail a review copy of your comic.