Saturday, November 2, 2013

Iron Bound by Brendan Leach

The best way to enjoy Iron Bound


http://indiereader.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/iron-bound-2.jpg It's rare for a comic to hold me throughout it's story, even some of my favorite comics don't hold my attention completely. Usually, I take small breaks or rests from reading, taking in whatever message or moral they're putting forth. It's even rarer for a comic to just grab me from the first panel. Iron Bound did all of that. It grabbed me from the first page, the first panel and it never let me go. I had to finish Iron, all in one run. I love when comics do that to me, grab me by the throat, shove my face into it's story and doesn't let go until I'm done. 

http://images.tcj.com/2013/09/B-Leach-1wb.jpg It's 1961, Newark and we start off with two gang members of Iron Bound, Eddie and Benny on their bus trip back to Newark, New Jersey. They're rowdy and loud but overall keeping it to themselves. A passenger asks them to keep it down and from there it all goes down hill. 

After the incident of the bus, we follow Eddie dealing with the aftermath while dealing with his friend and gang member, Benny, from completely loosing it. Eddie is unable help Benny, which in turn gets them into deeper trouble and it affects everyone around them. It also doesn't help that Eddie (and Benny) have to deal with Mr. Dore, their boss and criminal lord, is sending them off to kill  traitors and get payments. Then to top it off, Eddie has to worry about their rival gang, the Asbury Park, while holding off a corrupt detective named Dunham and having to look out for Benny's girl (Genie)and his girl (Gloria) from a gang of tough girls who want to fuck them up.
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With so much going on and one would worry that Leach could easily lose control of the story and it become a tangled mess. Luckily for us, Leach knows what he's doing. You get a feeling from the beginning, that Leach has everything under control and we're have nothing to worry about. Leach has a knack for pacing. Even though Leach is almost always moving us through the story, shit is always going down and we're always trying to get ahead from whoever is trying to get us, Leach still allows us, in a panel or page, to take a breather. To take in what has occurred in the story, digest it but not for long because like before, we have to move. I know it might sound tiring, but I love it; it's a page turner and after a while you realize you're almost done with comic and you feel sad because you don't want it to stop. It's exhilarating and goddamn gripping because you want to read if Eddie is able dealing with his situation or if Benny will calm down or read what Dore is going to do next. Leach keeps you guessin' and keeps you on your toes and it's amazing.

It's impossible to talk about Iron Bound without talking about Leach's style. Leach is able to communicate the anguish, anger, frustration and futility of the lives of his characters. We're able to see and almost feel the grit and dirt of the characters and the city they're living in. He's able to communicate the frustration of Newark but yet give us a feeling of pleasurable nostalgia that makes us feel like we've always been there, that we're somehow coming back home. There's something about Leach's loose kinetic lines that looks so deceptively simple but is able to communicate a multitude feelings. I don't know how he does it, but man am I glad the comics world has some one like Brendan Leach working in it.


Iron Bound slowly becomes more than a story about two gang members dealing with the world they've been dealt with. It's a story of a part of a city and an in-depth character study of the characters who live in that part. People just trying to get ahead in life, trying to survive and getting whatever small pleasure goes their way. Sometimes life goes their way and at times they're shut out of it.
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