Page 45 Review by Stephen
I love everything about Joe THE LISTENING AGENT Decie: his mischief, his timing, his otherwise mundane household objects
even his handwriting.
Yes, his handwriting! It's one of the most attractive in comics: capital letters, far from rigid, that dance up and down while remaining as crystal clear as the layout here. (Although now THE END's Dan Berry's going to tell me it's one of the many fonts he's created.)
Speaking of Dan Berry, like his own NICHOLAS & EDITH this is another of seven 24 Hour Comics he orchestrated at The Lakes International Comic Art Festival. I can't imagine the pressure but it doesn't look like Joe felt any.
This is as effortlessly entertaining as ever, about how his gran invented the paper clip, fashioning it from fuse wire while working as a clerk in Sir Gerald Patten's War Office around 1940. So that's several household objects on the very first page. Our Joe draws a perfect pair of pliers, you know.
I always wonder about who invented everyday objects and why: it's usually necessity popping out another sprog, isn't it? In this case Joe's grandma felt the need to file faster and keep what she filed better organised. The paperclip quickly catches on and before you know it she's given her own office to set to it in the reappropriated Malvern Road Tube Station.
"Apparently it was mostly used for anti aircraft operations, but Gran had her own bit, separate with its own lift!
"From her room she has direct access to the station.
"She said she used to eat her sandwiches down there. In the dark."
You couldn't make this up, could you?
Anyway, fast-forward to the present day and there are repercussions. Well, you have to think of the patent and all that implies. I'm not going to give the game away, but there's a big chunk of Joe's life here I knew nothing about and next time I bump into him I'm going to quiz him quite chronically. Fascinating!
I will just say she that his gran was given a St Hubbins Cross medal and - typically - kept it in a tin of boot polish. An empty one, obviously. Well, empty apart from the medal. Joe draws a mean tin of boot polish too!