Monday, October 21, 2013

District 14 - Pierre Gabus & Romuald Reutimann

When I first bought District 14: Season 1, I knew nothing about the comic. So, why buy it? Why waste almost 40 bucks on a comic that might just be wasted on you. Well... There was something about the cover that grabbed my eye and it wasn't the foreword by Jeff Smith. It's a simple cover, well, to an extent. The logo and title is very elaborate but that wasn't it. There was an indescribable urge that hit me, that made me want to buy and read it. And let me tell you, I'm so happy that urge hit me; District 14 is comic gold.

But before I continue let me give you a small synopsis of the comic: An anthropomorphic mystery story told in a fantastic setting. Simple right? Nope! 

Once you start delving into the story, what was once simple mystery is now an intricate and at times baroque mystery story that only gets more mysterious as you keep reading. There's so many twists and turns it makes your head spin and in the end you're left with more questions than you started! But that
isn't a bad thing, because it keeps the story moving and when the answers and questions are put forth to the reader, it's done at a critical moment in the story. So you're almost always moving to get to the next part of the puzzle. 

Now, it may sound exhausting always being on the move, Gabus & Reutimann do an interesting thing. Though we're moving from place to place, character to character, the creators make sure to take their time in those places. Gabus & Reutimann make sure to show us parts of the city, show us those places you jump into when you're hungry because it just looks appealing, show us every aspect of the city and its citizens and to allow us to take it all in. What I'm trying to say is, while it's always in move, when we stop at our destination, we're given space to breath and relax and take things in. It's a comic that's very character and environment conscious. It's a very fine line that Gabus & Reutimann are walking but they pull it off so masterfully, it seems like they've been doing this for a long time; knowing when to breath or when to move, when to parse out information or when to withhold information; it's a tightly paced and plotted story.

As rich as their story is, their characters are even richer. Their characters come off as if they have their own lives outside the page and panel, and they have a HUGE cast of characters that they weave from and to. Everyone they introduce in the story has a reason to be there: either to move the story or to enrich the story or to tell more about the world we're readering and the characters we're reading. Even the small characters are fully realized and get a limelight in the story. It feels like Gabus & Reutimann have made a whole profile, a life story for all their characters and that each play an important role in the world, no matter how small their role is.

District 14 is one of those rare comics whose creators know how to utilize the medium successfully. Gabus & Reutimann masterfully interweave words with pictures. They fully understand the relationship between words and pictures. They are able to build from every panel and page, that if you take one word out, or move a character a certain way, or change the shape of a certain panel it would destroy the storytelling, the illusion they've put you under. There's no awkward pairing of the two, the word and pictures work together to not only tell us something but also allow the reader to delve more deeply into them.

Now this is all helped by Reutimann's art; it is a joy to look at. He has an amazing ability to suck you into the world; a world that's both strange and familiar, filled with so many miscellaneous things and homages to past comics. You can literally spend hours looking at certain panels. Not only does he suck you in, he has an uncanny ability to make a simple drawing come alive; even his background characters are full of life. It helps that he knows how to use motionlines, anatomy and how set and move his characters and pieces. It also helps that he knows how to express emotions through his characters. His characters are fully expressive beings, there's no dull moments in any panel.

Gabus & Reutimann are putting out a modern classic. When I read District 14, it brings forth a love. A love for great art, a love for great stories, a love for rich characters and especially a love for the comic medium. District 14 is the reason why I have stuck with comics for as long as I have. District 14 is why I think comics is the best field in the arts. Do yourself a favor, go out and buy this comic, please. You won't be disappointed and even maybe, you'll get the same childish joy when you first discovered comics and feel love with it.

1 comment:

  1. Ah! The images are gone!

    I posted a good amount of images to show off the comic but they've disappeared.