Wednesday, 23 March 2016

The Chairs' Hiatus by Matthew Bogart Review

‘Cos everyyyybodyyyyy huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrtttttttttttssssssssss…. If that song were a comic, it’d be The Chairs’ Hiatus! 

Mary was one half of popular indie band The Chairs but “something” happened and the band went on a break. Though she’s been keeping a low profile in a small town her former band mate Nel tracks her down and tries to reform The Chairs. But what caused their hiatus in the first place? 

This is a pretty accomplished comic considering it’s Matthew Bogart’s debut! The story is developed well, the mystery is slowly unravelled, we get a good sense of Mary as a character and her interactions with Nel and their mutual friend Jen are believable. And yet… I didn’t love it. Maybe it’s because it’s too light a narrative touch, Bogart being just a wee bit too subtle to really impress his story on the reader, but I only sorta liked it. 

That said, there’s interesting use of the medium as we only see one side of a critical phone conversation between Mary and her beau (the other half is included as a backup), one character disappears entirely at a crucial moment and the mystery is only partially explained with the reader expected to read between the lines (or panels, so to speak) of that silent finale. 

Bogart shows a strong understanding of the language of comics and a sophisticated and confident use of it. The art is spare and competent if a bit plain. The use of blue mono-colour is a good reflection of the tone of the piece. And I appreciated that Bogart is smart enough not to try and emphasise and express the music itself through the comic – that never works in this medium. 

The Chairs’ Hiatus may not be the most gripping read but it’s got enough going on in it to keep readers enticed. Dan Clowes and Seth fans may find this one appealing.

The Chairs' Hiatus

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