Monday, August 18, 2014

DUST by John Bergin

A collection of short comic stories created by Bergin from the mid-90s up to the present, DUST is a must-have for fans of serious, dark, and sometimes disturbing comics.

Friends with James O'Barr, creator of The Crow, Bergin is a multi-talented artist - writer, artist, musician, animator - who (and this may sound cliche) forges his own path.  The stories found within this new collection are singular, engaging, distinct works that will worry your emotions raw.  Bergin's visions are scratchy and dark, with a sense of whimsy subtly dropped in to add to the pathos.

I would purposely set the book aside for days at a time, savoring the most recent story while anticipating the next one, wishing to extend my experience of DUST, knowing that I could always come back to something riveting and emotional each time.  And the book never disappointed.  It was, like my collection of Borges short fiction, a book I did not want to end.

Having read a couple of issues of ASHES, Bergin's 90s comic from Caliber Press, I was prepared for the imagery I would find inside.  If you are familiar with O'Barr's "Crow" then you have a good idea already, since these two friends' work is similar in tone, if not identical in execution (which would not be half as satisfying).  What I was not ready for was the high level of the writing.  And, in that, I don't necessarily mean the ideas or the manner in which the stories were told - I mean the actual words utilized by Bergin.  He was able to paint pictures and incite emotions with his words alone, images and feelings that were heightened by the imagery accompanying them.  It really was a master course in how to create moving, haunting short comics.

I can't recommend this book enough.  And I must thank Mr. Phil (from the late, lamented Indie Spinner Rack podcast) for introducing me to Bergin's work with the inclusion of the artist in the second ISR anthology - Awesome 2: Awesomer.


No comments: