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Magic Hour Sketchbook
posted November 8, 2007
Self-Published, mini-comic, 20 pages, October 2007, $3
I'm guessing that this short book from cartoonist Alex Holden featuring his Magic Hour
milieu is more something that was put together for the festivals than a continuation of the title itself. However, I rather like the way this mini is put together as a comic. Adding a number of black and white sketches of city scenes that look like they're depicting roughly the same places the stories are set give the book depth and texture; the sketches sort of provide additional commentary on the Magic Hour
concept of monsters and creatures standing in for strange people in the neighborhood perceived by kids as being different. It adds another level of reality, almost like a still photo that takes us into a period movie.
The gem of the comics included is a short called "On the A Train" where the character Ricky has a spooky encounter with two street people that may or may not bear a mystical, spiritual element. Not only is the comic told in a series of compelling, shifting angles, but Holden uses a wonderful, cascading image within a speech balloon effect that's both attractive and eerie. I'm still not sure how far and how deep Holden can go with the overall concept, and none of the stories have the narrative momentum that might call those issues into question. I'm also left wondering about one or two ways that Holden chooses to simplify his figures. After reading the sketchbook, I can say I would definitely buy a serial comic book effort with this material using this approach, whether the work finally coheres into some greater or not.