THE AUTEUR #1 of 5. (ONI Press, March 2014). Adult content suggested for mature readers.
What catches attention immediately is the eye-popping cover, done in a glaring vivid style that evokes memories of the underground comics of the 1960’s.
Coincidentally (perhaps) “auteur” is a French word originating in the 1960’s and used to describe “a filmmaker whose individual style and complete control over all elements of production give a film it’s personal and unique stamp.” (Definition courtesy of www.dictionary.reference.com/). Indeed, THE AUTEUR is the story of a “dirtbag” Hollywood producer out of fresh ideas and seeking out fringe remedies to start his creative juices flowing once again. The creative team on this book is all-out in its efforts to gain your attention. THE AUTEUR is outrageous, over the top, and in your face.
Writer Rick Spears (also lettering the book as “Sick Rears”) details his main character (producer Nathan T. Rex) in broad, bold strokes that manage to evoke a little empathy due to the extremely pathetic nature of his situation and his efforts to reclaim his damaged reputation in Hollywood. After a string of hit movies his last production “Cosmos” (an epic space opera similar to Star Wars) fell to the bottom of the toilet bowl.
The studio that funds him gives T. Rex one last chance to pull out of the tar pit he’s mired in and prevent extinction. He’s desperate for ideas to use in his new film, a slasher pic titled “President’s Day”, and looks for inspiration.
His search brings him to The Vatican (the strip bar, not the Pope’s home) where he looks to a nun (the pole dancer, not the holy woman) for ideas and is told to have faith. He finally turns to charlatan/guru Doctor Love, whose psychedelic-laced elixirs transport Rex to “idea space” (wonderfully depicted in bold, vivid colors and wild hallucinatory images). After several journeys, Rex gets the inspiration to add an unusual expert as consultant on “President’s Day”.
THE AUTEUR is indeed, as it’s editor claims, gritty and hyper-violent and very original. The images would frighten but they simply surprise us in guilty pleasure fashion due to the skills of artist James Callahan. Editor Charlie Chu aptly describes Callahan’s style as “Looney-Tunes-on-PCP artwork that’s is one part skater hooligan and one part Geoff Darrow. His artwork makes me think he’s only read Jack Kirby comics while hoarding Garbage Pail Kids cards.” The color work by Luigi Anderson is so bright and bold it looks flourescent.
Where this five-part story will end and the path it will take is anybody’s guess. The fun will be in the journey, so board the magic bus and let’s go for a wild ride!