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John Cei Douglas


Page 45 Review by Stephen

Another spot-varnished beauty, whose sheen makes the evening outside glow.

Unfortunately the protagonist is ordering in, and has been doing for quite some time.

Whenever we're lucky enough to receive a rare new work by John Cei Douglas, my heart leaps with joy. You could call my heart contrary, given the predominantly quiet, contemplative and often bereft nature of John's short stories, but his empathy is exceptional and he expresses it so well with a gentle, careful consideration and a precision of panels which is the hallmark of a true craftsman.

His work is some of the most poignant in comics without ever playing to an emotional gallery. Instead what he has to say is true. It is honest and open and born of reflection. Days, weeks and months of reflection, I'd wager.

Both HOLDING PATTERNS and SHOW ME THE MAP TO YOUR HEART which we made a Page 45 Comicbook Of The Month are currently standing proud on our Mental Health Awareness counter corner, for they contain eloquent evocations and expressions of anxiety and depression - in far from obvious ways - which have proved familiar and so sympathetic to so many.

What we have here is equally halting. What we have in 'tick tock' is mortality.

It's a two-page comic constructed to be read left-to-right across its breadth but - here's the clever thing - it's the central two tiers which form the momentum. Those above and below them present a contiguous context. This is the trajectory; those are cookies crumbling.

And that is what I love about comics: invention.

Also on offer this time: sedentary sedation, more passage of time, and long, lonely nights while the rain keeps on pouring, indifferent to those both within and without. Call me contrary once again but I love the rain. I love watching it through my window at any hour of the day, but especially at night. I'll open a window even in winter just to hear the patter and scatter on glass.

Here, appearing briefly between two other women in the same story, one older lady ventures out at Ridiculous O'Clock in the morning in search of company. She's even brought a means to her end. She is thwarted.

They are thwarted.

What makes you think they're not the same woman?

Tick Tock.

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