Burly Press $5
The followup issue to Owen’s Bludgeon debut is nearly here! Where the initial chapter was all set up and characterization, this time Owen focuses on action and mystery. The street level, bearish Mike (AKA Bludgeon) has been scoping out his new locale of Albuquerque for the past two months in search of clues for the reasons why he is what he is. Owen is simply teasing the reader here. Exactly what he means is left for more exploration and revelation at a later date. Firt there’s going to be a lot of all out weirdness taking place in an out of the way wooded area where Mike encounters a camping hobo. As a subtle example characterization Owen gives Mike a keen awareness, used to effect here when Mike begins a conversation guided by his intuition and astute observation of the camp site. The hobo, sensing that the jig is indeed up, tries to quickly turn the table on the — ahem — burlier Mike. Owen managed to surprise me here with the hobo’s mask and his companion and that’s all I’ll say because I don’t want to spoil it. It does however allude to the larger picture that Owen has in mind for Bludgeon.
Also making another appearance is the over friendly barista Alice who proves to be almost as unnerving for Mike as the nemesis he’s just lost track of, thanks to her good intentions. Yes, her sudden appearance is a plot device for a cliffhanger’s sake, but it’s unexpected and humorous, and Owen constructs it in such a way to underscore a major part of Alice’s personality as well as to highlight a flaw in Mike’s personality. The quick shift from the bizarre to the mundane creates both a tension in the story and grounds Mike in his humanity.
Scanning the pages just now it occurred to me that Owen’s line work is reminiscent of woodblock printing. The last time a comics artist’s style seemed similar to the woodblock medium was Justin Hall in A Sacred Text, one of his earliest works. Not that Owen’s art is in Hall’s vein. They’re both different and seeing both side by side should provide an interesting comparison in technique. The outdoor, wooded scenes which take up most of the issue seems to have been a real pleasure for Owen to draw. I make this observation partly because he seems to really cut loose with the fight scene, using angles to make the clash dynamic. The perspective and scale issues that I noticed in the debut reappear in the closing urban scene this time out. Since there is a consistency displayed in the two issues I’ll say that Owen is less concerned about the restraints of formal perspective than he is with telling his story, and that’s a good sign. Rounding out the issue are a couple pinups by Freeland and A N Cargo!
Bludgeon #1 may be ordred from Jeremy at his Burly Press website for $5. You’ll be able to pick up a copy from him personally if you just so happen to be attending this weekend’s Bent Con in lovely Burbank!