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The Intruder
posted November 3, 2004


Creator: Mark Burrier
Publishing Info: Self-Published Mini-Comic, $4, 28 pages, 2004
Ordering Numbers: None

The Intruder is a very slight, handsomely packaged short story of a confrontation between a man and a pair of trespassers, made more interesting for the inclusion of a few well-observed, subtle details. The property in question is adjunct office space next to where the protagonist seems to work. The intruder is the male half of a couple that looks to have entered the space in order to have sex or simply fool around. Making the space a little bit more specific than simply walking in on an abandoned house gives the situation greater verisimilitude, and also sets the reader's head racing about the various locked door combinations that might stand between the intruders and the protagonist when things turn ugly. Because it's a couple with an indeterminate relationship, the violence of the male becomes compelling in contrast to the relative passivity of his female companion. Is he always like this? Does she encourage this sort of behavior? Is she at danger, too?

Mini-comics like The Intruder perform the function of small, self-financed films in movie-making - or at least in those facets of that field where exists some rational progression in terms of talent. This is a very slight narrative, told in a very spare manner - backgrounds are brought in and dropped in a way that sets mood and draws attention to figures, and the line-work is more the type one is used to seeing in poetically emotional stories of young person heartbreak and woe - seeing the characters spring into action is like watching an action scene filmed by Sophia Coppola.

Like many mini-comics of this sort, one may suspect that the smallness of the story suits the limits of the artist's talent as opposed to being a formal constraint. In other words, you don't want much more than what Mark Burrier gives you. Still, for its meandering away from the static qualities for which this art usually serves as a vehicle, The Intruder is well worth picking up for fans of talent at the development stage, and cartoonist Burrier needs to be kept under close tabs, which is not something you could automatically say of his charming previous work.