King, Alan & Vayda, Jamie – Left Empty #1
I’m a big fan of letting a comic/book/movie/show speak for itself, generally speaking. The creators of that thing are the ones telling the story and I’m just along for the ride. But the internet is just right there all the time, and I was curious about whether or not this was based on a true story, so I peeked. And, sadly, it is. This is the story of the time after Alan’s wife died, apparently quickly and with very little warning. We don’t see that event in this comic, and we only see brief snippets of the events leading up to it in this issue. Mostly what we see is a broken man who is drinking all day every day, with brief glimpses of his dog, doing that thing that dogs do of either lapping up the sadness or the joy that’s going on around them. If you don’t own a dog, trust me, that comment makes sense. Anyway, most of the first 2/3 of the comic are silent, and we see in detail just what a hole Alan has fallen into with this loss. It’s an utterly heartbreaking story, as it’s clear that Alan loved this woman completely and that her loss has shattered him. We get a few more details towards the end of the book, including one specific thing she said to him towards the end that has haunted him ever since. He now seems to have the perspective to realize it was probably just a sentence said that he would have forgotten about years ago if she hadn’t died, but because of that it’s stuck with him ever since. This is also a bit of a change of pace from the true life stories that Jamie usually draws, but the man can handle utter despair with the best of them. It’s a really solid and powerful comic, and I recommend it highly if you can handle a little gloom in your life. OK, a lot of gloom. But it’s good to be reminded on a regular basis of just how temporary everything in life actually is.