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Hunter & Painter
posted March 15, 2007


Creator: Tom Gauld
Publishing Information: Buenaventura Press, odd-sized, 24 pages, January 2007, $4.95
Ordering Numbers: 9780976684886 (ISBN)

Tom Gauld's Hunter & Painter reminds me of a comics adaptation of a classic comedy routine, something one of the great radio or improvisational theater pairings might have performed. The story of two iconic cavemen palling around and sharing complaints and support on the subject of each other's job, the overall effect one gets from the enterprise is a kind of detached amusement. The drawings themselves are funny, a variation on Gauld's generally idiosyncratic style that looks like someone took VT Hamlin's art and broke it down to stick-figure level simplicity. It's not an easier method of drawing; it's one that depends on accepting and reading cartoon simplification, and Gauld uses it to create beautiful, spare pages that function at a high level in terms of story content.

Gauld's work is well-staged and moves the eye; he knows when to utilize an occasional dramatic single image for effect. Beyond the purity with which the art communicates certain moments, it's still the writing that stands out to me. I find the back and forth wise, funny and humane. Hunter & Painter the kind of thing one can feel exists out there even when you're unfamiliar with specific examples. Comics like this one are anticipated even by those who don't know they're coming. I recommend it highly.