Written and Drawn by Mike Medaglia
Published by Avery Hill Publishing
The Book: A comic about the last days of Vincent Van Gogh – the first of a series of three books looking at artists who have died in obscurity.
The Review: Just published by Avery Hill Hill Publishing as a limited run of 100 signed and numbered copies, as soon as I read the digital preview copy of this book, I ordered a hard copy version.
Last Days of Nobodies: Wheatfields After the Rain is the first of a trilogy of books, reprinting for the most part Mike’s recent run of this as a webcomic on tumblr. This volume tells of the last few days of Van Gogh’ his loneliness and mental illness at their height. His self doubt shadows his movements.
Mike Medaglia is undoubtedly a singular voice in comics. He has an approach that is individual, styled and extremely pleasing to the eye. I have followed his work closely since basking in the intricately imagined characters of his last book Seasons (also out published by Avery Hill Publishing).
His work pauses in the quiet moments of life, dwelling patiently and passionately in the moments between the ticks of the clock. It’s all amazingly well perfected and balanced poetically in rich colours and flowing visuals.
Yes, I know I’m gushing – but it’s not without justification.
Mike’s personal artistic style sings through this piece of comics art. He uses the narration as a part of both the scenery and the movement of pages and has real flair with his sequential stream between panels. Laying out the page like a leaf floating downwards from side to side, it’s all done at a gentle and melancholy pace. The colouring is carefully calculated and the art lays on a mostly sepia background that extenuates the supposed ageing of the document. It feels like it’s drawn on an old canvas; the colours seem to sink into the old pages and this in turn affects the echoes of the work throughout.
‘The lost cause of a fading light.’
To take one example of the much appreciated work in this first volume, when Van Gogh loses his fight with life we see his spirit leave and hear an apology, of kinds. This is no melodrama but rather Mike’s soliloquy to an artist who was never fully appreciated and sadly never appreciated by his own self. It’s beautifully sad in all the right ways that a story like this deserves.
You won’t fail to be a fan after reading this book – and the best thing about it is that it’s only Volume One!
Thanks for reading.
Antony Esmond is a comic reviewer and writer – his hips don’t lie.