Monday, March 1, 2010

Wilmbledon Green, Part 1

In his introduction to Wimbledon Green: The Greatest Comic Book Collector in the World, Seth trashes his own work:

“The drawing is poor, the lettering shoddy, the page compositions and storytelling perfunctory,” he writes by way of apology to his loyal readers. “The whole thing was drawn in the spirit of ‘good enough.’ …Even I find some of the characters ugly.”

Is he kidding? Wimbledon Green is wonderful stuff. A great, heartfelt story combined with charming art.

A series of stories, actually. Billed as “from the sketchbook” of Canadian cartoonist Seth (aka Gregory Gallant), the series are told from various perspectives — not of all of which are trustworthy — of comic book dealers, longtime collectors, a valet and one private detective about the life of Wimbledon Green, an eccentric “force of nature” with a mysterious past (and future) who could deduce the publication year of a comic book merely by examining the staples or smelling the ink.

Seth also lovingly creates artists and characters from this fictional world’s Golden Age of comic books — Lester Moore and Hal Drake, the Green Ghost, hobos Fine and Dandy, Mr. Meteor and Sally Saturn, among others — and some are discussed in depth. He does this so fully, I wouldn’t mind tracking down a copy of Fine and Dandy myself, after reading Wimbledon’s “short talk” about them.

We should all be able to turn out such “shoddy” work as Seth’s Wimbledon Green. I strongly recommend this book.

More on Wimbledon Green next time.

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