In Review: Explosive Sweet Freezer Razors by Gareth A. Hopkins

Explosive Sweet Freezer Razors by Gareth A. Hopkins

When is a comic not a comic?

Explosive Sweet Freezer Razors is a 244-page collection of short abstract comic stories, created by Gareth A. Hopkins, known for the acclaimed Petrichor.

This book is “abstract” in so much as it follows convention to a point. Each page is divided into panels, but each panel has an abstract image, perhaps on its own or in a series of images rather than a panel that directly reflects the text that accompanies it. The image is more tailored to reflect the mood of the text. A reasonable comparison of the images, though oversimplified, would be the work of artists in the abstract expressionism movement such as Mark Rothko, though Hopkins’ work also includes clearly referenced images and photographs – a mash up of styles and media.

Explosive Sweet Freezer Razors by Gareth A. Hopkins
Explosive Sweet Freezer Razors by Gareth A. Hopkins

There is no plot as such, to any of the 10 stories included. It’s a mix of introspection and inner monologues from an unnamed narrator, relaying in some cases the most mundane of events, like daily chores or in others narrated by a ghost. Occasionally it resembles an impressionistic, sequential art version of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads. It also moves into stream of consciousness territory as Hopkins seems to use the “cut up technique” of writing made famous by William S. Burroughs: written passages cut up and reassembled to create something new. For those of us long enough in the tooth who’d want a comparison, think parts of Grant Morrison’s work on Doom Patrol.

Explosive Sweet Freezer Razors by Gareth A. Hopkins

Consequently, the reader could question whether the stories collected in this volume are actually comics as (for the most part) there is no direct relationship between image and text. Your reviewer would still argue that they are, but it is a different relationship based on mood and atmosphere, the technique gives the work a surreal, evocative, affecting dreamlike quality.

No doubt it is an acquired taste. But recommended for those who’d like something a little off beat.

Luke Williams

Explosive Sweet Freezer Razors is available direct from Gareth here on BigCartel

Follow Gareth A. Hopkins on Twitter

Interview – Comichaus Meets: Gareth A Hopkins

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