By Avi Weinryb
January 18, 2008 - 00:07
The cartoonist performs an amazing feat by employing very few panels per page. In spreading out the panels, sometimes even leaving only one panel within a page, Hart forces the reader to dwell on a scene before moving forward. When Barney expresses his mad passion for Harrison Ford’s adventure in
If Barney’s crumbly life seems realistic, the peripheral characters reinforce this sense of normalcy. Everyone from police officers to priests to hotel dwelling strangers makes small talk and shares their feelings. Unfortunately for Barney, those feelings are usually either misinformed or hostile.
Hart’s artwork is unique and simple. There is a dialed down sensibility to the illustrations. All male character sport flared nostrils, while all women have more pointy noses. No-one has pupils in their eyes, except for Aleki, Barney’s protégé. The artwork is just as unique as the author’s storytelling.
The book is a quick read, but stays with you for a little while longer. New Hat Stories is a thinking man’s comic, and for that, it should be commended.