Comics Time: Bald Knob

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Bald Knob

John Hankiewicz, writer/artist

self-published, 2007

28 pages

$4

Buy it from John Hankiewicz

This book is more or less the platonic ideal of comics for me today. I think it was Paul Pope who wondered where the great prose stylists are in this medium? I’d recommend he check out Hankiewicz’s writing in this minicomic, a page-by-page accrual of disjointed observations about a morning the narrator (presumably Hankiewicz himself) spent with his father prior to the latter’s departure by train. It’s a “there is a certain slant of light” swirl of sense-memories and small talk: the perfume sent in an abandoned train-station waiting room, the reflected sunlight on a gravel lot, enjoying an unnecessary second meal at Waffle House, using shopworn turns of phrase to describe the weather. Hankiewicz’s words evoke an attempt to preserve the remnants of a moment, or perhaps even the remnants of a relationship, that has passed its peak level of intimacy and intensity and is now and forever imbued with a sense of its own recession into the past. Meanwhile his art does the same thing, its minutely detailed panel-per-page depictions of the crumbling buildings Hainkiewicz and his father navigate capturing the warm sadness of decrepit Americana as well as anything this side of the scenery outside your window on the train as it recedes into the distance. What a magnificent little comic.

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