Slow News Day
I’ll admit that I am a mark for those comics that
ignore the fact that the comic industry was built on the
backs of super-powered heroes flying through the world.
Ever since I picked up early issues of Eightball and Love
& Rockets, I’ve been reading whatever small press
comics I can get a hold of. So, when I discovered the work
of Andi Watson, I quickly renamed him my favorite writer/artist.
Responsible for such amazing work as Skeleton Key, Geisha,
and Breakfast After Noon, Watson makes wonderfully
personal, sometimes hilarious, and always quirky comics.
Slow News Day, from Oni Press, collects the six
issues of the mini-series and became my favorite trade paperback.
is interesting enough: Katherine, a young journalism graduate
(who’s representing NorCal in a big way) comes to England
to work for the Wheatstone Mercury, a paper that her mother
had worked for back in the day. She arrives to find that the
paper is just a nickel and dime weekly with no foreign correspondent,
no fashion reporter, and in fact, only one reporter, the brutally
English Owen. The two have the natural culture clash, but
there is an obvious friendship beneath the annoyed looks.
The two go through town looking for stories, only to have
the absolute fluff pushed to the front page by marketing folks
trying to boost sales. Katherine is also writing a television
series and dealing with a boyfriend back home who is working
on selling it. This little sidenote makes the whole thing
more believable, adding the sense that Katherine really is
that girl who just got out of school and is looking for what
to do next.
sells this story to me isn’t just the fact that it
sounds like a tale told by one of my fellow Emerson graduate’s
year after school, but that the art flows through the entire
thing. The art is minimalist, at times nearly expressionist
in delivery. The slightly unclean techniques Watson uses
add to the tale by increasing the sense of intimacy when
it needs to be increased and by adding confusion and frustration
when the tone needs additional setting. When I first came
across Watson’s work, I was blown away by just how
much a few subtle shifts in a series of frames can change
the entire mood of the following pages.
has done a magnificent job with this project, as they have
with almost all their trades. The work of Andi Watson is
ideal for the TPB world, but could have easily been undone
by too much adherence to the individual issues. While that’s
a mistake that most companies have managed to avoid in the
twenty or so years since trades became the standard way
of reprinting minis, it still pops up. Here, Slow News
Day is allowed to traipse through the full book as
pick this bastard up! It’s great work that deserves
your full attention.