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Lumakick #1
By Richard Hahn
Published by Lumakick Studio

Richard Hahn picked up a Xeric Award earlier this year to publish this delilghtful debut issue -- or "cool lima bean," as the enclosed note described it.

"Cool lima bean" describes Lumakick about as well as anything -- its delicate phrasing and simple, understated and elegant artwork defy description, comparison or easy explanation. We seem to have a series of short stories, some funny, some complex and surreal, all told with a unique storytelling style not quite like anything I've seen before. If you've read The Book of Leviathan or Forlorn Funnies you'll know that you're in the same country, but the language is strange and the weather is filled with portent -- raindrops, wind and stormclouds are all recurring motifs.

The main story, which runs through a number of short pieces, involves a gentleman in a hat, possibly an amnesiac, trying to remember a woman. She drifts in and out of the narratives, hiding here, just missing our protagonist there, sneaking up on the reader until you see that the stories in Lumakick are much more unified than they appear -- in the way of the universe, particles are joined by unknowable, other-dimensional threads that you can only see when you aren't quite looking at them.

There's a sense that Hahn is finding his way here -- both in the text note that the Xeric grant gave him the validation he needed to finish the work, and in the experimentation with words, pictures and visual themes that pervades virtually every panel. There's also a confidence, though, that Hahn knows the story he wants to tell, but that he only wants to show it to you by not showing it to you. He performs a shadow play against the wall, and the room is filled with "Blue layers of smoke." Trying to discern the territory made this the most delightful reading experience I've had since, well, the aforementioned Forlorn Funnies.

I should mention a number of one-pagers, gag strips that break up the more ambitious short stories. They create a rhythm that carries throughout the book, giving it a lyricism that builds up to the final one-pager on the inside front cover, which serves as an explanation, indictment and celebration of the comic book you've just finished reading.

"Justify the Dream," says a small line of text that I missed on my first reading of this terrific debut -- and Hahn does just that. The Xeric Foundation's faith in this work was entirely justified, funding a literate, self-aware and delightful first attempt that knocked me out. The deceptive simplicity of the storytelling makes me wonder how much more accomplished Hahn could become if he continues to create wonderful comics like this. I hope we both get the chance to find out. Write him at the e-mail link above and order a copy. Oh, and it smells good, too. Grade: 4.5/5

-- Alan David Doane

The ADD Blog by Alan David Doane. Trouble with Comics Reviews of comics and graphic novels. Commentary about the artform and industry of comics. Get back to the main page.

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