Tuesday, September 4, 2007

REVIEW :: Narcoleptic Sunday

by Jeremy Haun and Brian Koschak

reviewed by Jason Wheatley

You know what I like about Oni Press? They’re willing to put out original graphic novels on a regular basis, a format the bigger companies have all but abandoned (aside from the occasional offering from Vertigo). In fact, I know at least a couple of Oni’s original graphic novels helped me make some of my first baby steps into the world of indie comics. I guess when you’re a smaller publisher, you can experiment with formats that others have deemed “not profitable.” Which brings me to Narcoleptic Sunday, which came out last week.

Narcoleptic Sunday is a mystery thriller following Jack Larch, who meets a woman named Jill at a coffee shop one fine Sunday afternoon. They make an instant connection, and, well, consummate their relationship that evening. Jack awakens to find himself handcuffed by the police and covered in blood, his new lady love dead. How did Jack sleep through a murder, you ask? He’s narcoleptic.

Jeremy Haun is best known as an artist, working on books like the Civil War: Iron Man/Captain America one-shot, New Excalibur and Battle Hymn. This is his first stab at writing, and while this noir-ish story of Jack, who has to get to the bottom of a situation he doesn’t understand while fighting the ever-present threat of falling asleep and waking up in greater danger, doesn’t exactly break any new ground, it’s a good read for fans of the genre. There are some twists…the ever-present “evil crimelord” of these types of stories is there, but he – it? – isn’t like any crime boss I’ve seen before. What is probably meant to be the big twist of the book won’t really surprise anyone who’s read more than a couple of noir tales before, but it doesn’t detract from enjoying the book. If anything detracts from it, it would have to be that as a self-contained graphic novel that, as far as I know, isn’t meant to have a sequel, there are a few unanswered questions, including a certain deus ex machina in the book’s final pages. But this is a great first effort by Haun.

Now why would Haun, an artist, ask another artist, Brian Koschak, to illustrate his graphic novel? An interview I read that first piqued my interest in this book addressed this same question – basically, Haun said that if he decided to pull double duty on this book, it would be the only thing he could work on for a while, which isn’t such a good idea when you’re, you know, trying to make a living. Koschak is a good fit for this story, though. His art isn’t overly realistic, but it has a grittiness to it. There’s also a definite manga influence, such as the energy in the action sequences and the heavy linework that defines the edges of the characters. Koschak also is able to capture in certain sequences the dreamlike quality appropriate for a story about a man who lives his life on the edge of sleep at any moment. I’ll be on the lookout to see what work he does in the future.

For mystery/thriller fans, Narcoleptic Sunday is a good way to kill an afternoon. If you’ve got the spare cash, I’d recommend checking it out.

1 comment:

Rusty Baily said...

That actually sounds pretty cool...Spanx for the heads up Sweetly!