We often talk about a comic pushing boundaries and being unlike anything else out there. However when it comes to Petrichor, the new book from Gareth A Hopkins via Good Comics, then there really is nothing else out there quite like this.
Publisher: Good Comics
Writer: Gareth A Hopkins
Artist: Gareth A Hopkins
Price: £12.00 from Good Comics Big Cartel Store
Hopkins’ mix of surreal abstract images in Petrichor are part rorschach test and part crazy doodles that looks like a spider on drugs is attacking every page. His pages feel almost built, rather than drawn, and in doing this he creates strange and mesmerising images that he repeats, paints over, writes on, and cuts up to place into panels or redraws and reimagines them in order to make his own take on a comic.
For those not put off by the concept of an abstract comic, much of which is in black and white, then you are in for a very thoughtful and considered read. Alongside the unique imagery, each page is layered with heartfelt and poignant slices of dialogue that begins with the repetition of a few simple phrases, reminiscing about a holiday with his children, thinking about how many time people fall in love or a memory about his daughter’s final ballet lesson.
These phrases repeat in abstract patterns, sometimes expanding on their meaning and giving more depth, and other times moving on to something completely different. It feels like a poem, or a piece of ambient music and makes it less of a story and more of a thought piece, as the words don’t compliment the images as much as they are part of a flow of words and pictures which you experience and absorb – and then think about later.
It would be easy to pick apart Petrichor for being a book which is all style and no substance, and while we can confidently say it is not the kind of comic we would usually go for, it definitely has an originality to it that makes it very readable and a unique experience. It is not the most rip-roaring read and isn’t going to be for everyone (especially with the £12 price tag), however the choice and poignancy of the words and phrases that Hopkins uses throughout makes this into something hypnotically readable and thoroughly absorbing. A truly one of a kind book from one of small press comics most original creators.