The Example Review

The-Example-Cover-Final-1I discovered this snappy little book from local publisher Gestalt Publishing (well local to me in Perth, Western Australia anyway) when I read about it in an article in The Australian newspaper. Written by Tom Taylor, and based on his award winning play, with art by 200AD’s Colin Wilson, this is a prime example of how to create something intense with a surprisingly simple premise. Two people, strangers actually, are waiting for a slow train to arrive. As a man (that we never see) leaves the station, he also leaves behind the hook behind this tale – a suitcase.

The young, bespectacled girl Sam and the older, more distinguished Chris soon break the ice while wondering what exactly the suitcase is and what they should do about it. To say any more than that would be to ruin what’s a truly engrossing short story, including the origin of the title. For anyone new to comics, this is a great entry. For any wannabe writers, this is a great lesson in pacing and suspense. For wannabe artists, this is a great lesson in panel design. Like Watchmen, it uses a simple 9 panel grid on almost every page, but you won’t even notice. I mean, this is just two people talking at an empty suburban space, yet you’ll be lost in the world it creates. If you are I also recommend watching other engrossing tales with two, such as Alfred Hitchcock’s 1948 film Rope about two murderers at a dinner party, Richard Linklater’s film Tape, or the Before Sunrise, and Sunset films.

It’s obvious that Taylor and Wilson have thought long and hard about every line (created by the keyboard and the pencil) in creating this standalone drama. At only 11 pages of actual story, space had to be used wisely and is. Extras include a few more pages of character sketches by Wilson as well as musings on the creation of this project by Taylor, Wilson and publisher Wolfgang Bylsma.

The Example

You can pick up this excellent issue and their recent Flinch anthology at any good comic shop, or at Gestalt’s site.

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