The Black Project #1
I never know what to expect with Gareth, and that is a wonderful thing. Between the Man Man books and some other assorted comics it was already made clear that he has a real knack for genuinely funny stuff. This one, on the other hand, takes another turn entirely. This is the story of a young boy and his obsessive quest to “create” a girl. I don’t think it’s ever spelled out how young the boy is. I’d guess somewhere around 12, as he’s still in school and rarely gets much time away from his parents. Anyway, he manages to assemble a monstrosity called Laura, but a friend notices an arm, a fight ensues, and the boy has to dismantle it in a hurry. That’s enough creepiness for one comic, but Gareth is just getting started. Our hero decides to make another girl, and this time he’s going to do it right. Naturally it isn’t going to be as easy as all that, and the boy is eventually found out, but I’m in danger of spilling too many beans here. I’ll just say that (according to the message at the end) this story is going to be continued, and I’m a big fan of the new direction. Well, maybe not if this is going to be 100% of his focus, as the world needs a new Man Man comic every year or so, but this book succeeded on just about every level. It’s set up with large chunks of text with illustrations filling in some gaps, but it’s not like a lot of text-heavy comics that seem to rely almost completely on the words. Those pictures are crucial and add to the horror of this “girl” that he’s constructing. Once or twice the words got a little too small (I’m guessing he had to shrink things down for the comic size), but that’s the only negative thing I have to say about this. If you have a hollow spot where your funny bone used to be, buy this for your first introduction to Gareth’s work. Or if you just like a good, unnerving as fuck comic. No price as always, but I’ll guess $5.