Please Release is a standard-sized comic book collecting four autobiographical tales by Nate Powell (Sounds of Your Name, Microcosm Publishing 2006). Each is connected by the general theme of Powell’s life as something of a drifter who nevertheless strives to make deep and intimate connections even if he is in one place for only a short time.
The first story, “The Phantom Form” is more or less a manifesto on Powell’s wanderlust, and it has a musical rhythm and not just because the story opens with a record playing. Best read in one sitting to capture the joy of a life spent having itchy feet, “The Phantom Form’s” musical lilt is infectious, but doesn’t hide the undercurrent of melancholy. This bouncy short proves that comics can mimic having a beat or pulse using static images the way writers and poets can with words.
Also, all of the stories, to one extent or another, are connected by Powell’s profession of working with adults who have developmental disabilities. That serves to humanize the story, giving them an earthiness these stories need whenever Powell has flown off into his internal world of self-examination. His intricate art, a kind of ornate “indie style,” makes Please Release a catchy EP of ear candy for the eyes and mind of the curious reader.
This title like every Top Shelf title still in print is available through the publisher's website, topshelfcomix.com. To find a comic book store call The Comic Shop Locator phone number, 1-888-COMIC BOOK.