Daily Graphic Novel Recommendation 224

Mister Blank

by Christopher Hicks
Genre notes: adventure, secret history
360 pages
ISBN: 0943151252 (Amazon)

It's always a shame when a book falls between the cracks. When either the world isn't ready for it yet or its creator just hasn't had that magic string of luck that means their book will get the accolades and adulation. Every year I read ten or twenty books that ought to be famous, that ought to be among the books that everyone is talking about that year, but somehow just don't catch fire like they should.

Mister Blank is an old one of those. Published in its complete form in July of 2000, Hicks' adventure burst out just before the dawn of the new golden age of comics. There were greats that predated it by a year or two or were contemporaries, but the era of people looking to the graphic novel as a trustworthy source of great storytelling and literary wonder had yet to fully take root. Would Mister Blank find a great and robust audience were it released today? I've given up trying to predict what will catch hold of the popular imagination. When Balak, Sanlaville, and Vives' Lastman doesn't find itself prominent on every sci-fi/fantasy adventure reader's shelf, prognosticating a book's success seems a fool's errand.

At any rate, Mister Blank is 17 years old and out of print *but* unpopular enough that you can get used copies off Amazon in the neighbourhood of $15. Which is a steal. Because at the end of the day, Mister Blank is among my all-time favourite adventure comics. It's funny and exciting with dynamic art and a great sense of visual timing.

Story brief goes like this: Sam Smith is a nobody in a big corp. He loves his dog and has a crush on Julie but is too chicken to mention it, which is sad because she keeps waiting for him to make a move. Anyway, as we would expect, a couple terrorists try to blow up the corp building and Sam stops them. Only they were robots, not terrorists, and they weren't necessarily trying to blow up the building but they did accidentally drop some biomass that's cloned Sam and given a street mime superpowers. Also, there's a guy who flies because he might be related to Satan. Also a bunch of dudes who are immortal. Also is that Litlith, the first woman (the one before that upstart strumpet Eve), and oh yeah her daughter and does she know the word of creation that she stole from God? Maybe. Or probably. Because that's how stories about corporate peons always turn out.

Anyway. If you like fun, you should read it. Get it from the library or get it as a not-too-pricey used book somewhere.

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