Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"Sometimes I miss the rhythm of it.
"That sweet mindless staring,
"...going from this to that,
"...that to this,
"...over and over.
"That doesn't happen any more."
Can you imagine a world where all technology: phones, laptops, even televisions just turned off and never turned on again? Tillie ON A SUNBEAM (EXCLUSIVE PAGE 45 BOOKPLATE EDITION) Walden can, and I have to say, it sounds idyllic to me. Suddenly people are forced to communicate using the old-fashioned tried and tested ways again. Speech... and touch. For some it's a boon, others a curse.... It's definitely unfortunate when two such people share a relationship, for sure, as Tillie elucidates for us. It would certainly increase comic sales too, I reckon...
Can you imagine an anthology where six top comics creators each come up with a very different take on the myriad interfaces and interplays between technology and humanity? You don't have to. Because curators of the curious Krent Able and Julian Hanshaw have done it for you. Happily, they even had it printed courtesy of the kind folks at SelfMadeHero, just in case there is such a technology outage...
The result is six very different vignettes approaching this broad topic from utterly different perspectives. We open with a typically bonkers look at how physical death might soon not be an end but merely a stepping stone from Box AN ENTITY OBSERVES ALL THINGS Brown. Followed by Erik Svetoft's crackpot take on how vintage jpgs and mp3s might become a hot black market item in the future for digital smugglers. Completing the first half of our scheduled programming is Shaun TALES FROM OUTER SUBURBIA Tan, (YES, that Shaun Tan!!!) with his equivalent of a 2000AD Future Shock about an astronaut looking for a lost girl done in his own inimitable sweet, gorgeous way. It is as mesmerisingly beautiful as it is subtly surreal, both in the art and the storytelling.
Then we recommence with Tillie's poignant tale of the heart... If you know someone that really ought to put their tech away and engage their loved ones a bit more, you could do worse than push this under their nose! Julian CLOUD HOTEL Hanshaw then immediately presents us with a complete change of tone by means of a very special projector and a chicken... Nothing salacious or unsavoury I hasten to add, but there is a bit of fowl play, I have to warn you... Speaking of foul play, Krent Able concludes matters, very finally for most of his cast, with some rather disturbing horror. It's like a modern day House Of Hammer story. Very British, very wrong, very Krent and left me feeling more than a little perturbed. The more I reflected on it, though, and it did stay with me as I am sure it will you, the more I liked it. It would make a very good episode of Black Mirror, actually.
Between the six stories here, you will get all your proverbial buttons well and truly pushed. You will laugh, you will want to cry, you may want to run and hide. But you can't outrun the advance of technology. A superbly crafted and wonderfully eclectic selection, I must say. Kudos to Krent and Julian for organising it all in addition to their own contributions.
I will finish simply by commenting on the cover, which I was initially rather underwhelmed by upon first inspection. I thought to myself, when you have all that talent contained within, bursting to get out, isn't it a little underwhelming, indeed perhaps bland? However the material within is so diverse both visually and plot-wise, that the cover is actually perfect in its own unique simplicity, utterly distinct from everything that lies within. It's the equivalent of a loading screen - I'm talking old-school Spectrum standard not modern movie-quality cut scenes - nothing more, nothing less. A very clever piece of well thought through graphic design.