Jan’s Atomic Heart

As a first effort, Simon Roy’s not-quite near-future sci-fi tale Jan’s Atomic Heartholds promise, revealing a young creator with the chops to be a good artist as well as a good storyteller. Roy excels at painting a fairly complete looking world by filling out artistic details in his backgrounds to give a fairly immersive idea of a post-depression future Germany. It helps that Roy also has a good ear for naturalistic dialogue, giving the world and the characters a grounded, realistic feeling even if they are inhabiting the bodies of rental robots paid for by their health insurance. The stand out quality of the book, however, is the quality of the art. Roy has a rough but polished style, a slight waviness to his lines and a blurring of his use of greys, giving the comic a look of watercoloured black and white. These are qualities that could indicate a lack of artistic confidence, but in Jan’s Atomic Heart this clearly isn’t the case.

The uncertainty i nRoy’s line and greyscale work compliments the sense of paranoia and disaffect conveyed in the story beautifully, and really adds to the sense of a fully realized world we are exploring. Somewhat rough lettering (I don’t want to say illegible per se, but it does get hard to read at times) and a rather abrupt ending do mar the book slightly, but all in all it is a strong first and a definite pleasure to look at. Hopefully, Roy will build on this foundation to create more quality comics to come. (Sam Linton)

by Simon Roy, $5.95, 56 pgs New Reliable Press, 313-3142 St. Johns St., Port Moody, BC, V3H 5E5 newreliable.com