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Gill #1
posted June 25, 2009
 

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Creator: Norman Feuti
Publishing Information: Self-Published, magazine, 44 pages, 2009
Ordering Numbers:

The cartoonist Norman Feuti currently does a mid-level comic strip called Retail, the reading of which is aking to watching a modern, star-driven, situation comedy. Feuti clearly has talent and routinely displays the ability to nail down a joke so that its execution exceeds the potential of its set-up. Retail is an easy and sometimes surprisingly pleasurable read. At the same time, it's hard to get past the artificial nature of the concept and enjoy the strip wholeheartedly, no matter its pleasing surface qualities. It's also hard to imagine a lot more being done with it than already has been done.

If the newspaper comics page were still functioning at a high level, Gill might be -- or turn into -- Feuti's second, stronger effort. A strip about an overweight, enthusiastic and dim child whose lack of intelligence both limits him and keeps him from feeling the full impact of the occasional bad thing that happens, Gill has a verve to it that you don't get from Feuti's other work. It's also, in its current incarnation as a self-direct side project, unsurprisingly all over the place, stringing jokes along from moments where we laugh with and moments where we're definitely laughing at Gill. Gill's father seems to wander in from another strip -- Herman perhaps, or someplace equally dour -- and the cruelty of the jokes in those sequences clash strongly against the more gentle ones with the lead at their center. In the old days, a syndicate might have taken a chance on Gill or the strip might have been killed outright so that its best ideas might have surfaced elsewhere. Today we get to see if Feuti can work through his creation's conceptual problems and push the work through to the other side. That's a lot of pressure to place on a kid with limited possibilities, but it's hard not to wish the best for him.