PJANG 3 – watching the world end, from the outsider’s perspective…
PJANG issue 3
by Rol Hirst, art by Andrew Cheverton, Nigel Lowrey, Davey Metcalfe
The third issue of Rol Hirst’s People Just Aint No Good (see here for the review of #1 & #2) – three stories, two hits, one not so much, and all dealing with the point of view of the outsider to one degree or another.
The not so much is the final story in the book – “blinded by the light that never goes out“. It’s six pages of so-so autobiographical tale of Rol’s childhood and the discovery of both Springsteen and Morrissey. It’s okay, but after the first two stories it merely functions as the equivalent of a nice filler track. Dave Metcalfe’s artwork is very nice though – touches of the Philip Bond about it in places which is never a bad thing. There’s always got to be a least favourite in any short story collection I suppose and everyone reading PJANG will have their own, but this one’s mine.
(Rol Hirst writing his own asides in an autobiog tale with lovely art by Dave Metcalfe from PJANG 3)
So that’s the bad news over with. The other two stories are cracking. First up there’s an end of the world type affair with some brilliant artwork by Andrew Cheverton’s art – scratchy, interesting stuff reminiscent of Ted McKeever and Mike McMahon. And nicely suited to the dark tale Rol decides to tell of a man observing the last hours before the impending disaster. It’s one of those low key affairs as our man wanders through the wreckage of society reacting to the news that tomorrow wont be happening after all. All handled with equal measures of depression, introspection and black humour:
(Andrew Cheverton’s great, scratchy, expressive artwork on Rol Hirst’s end of the world tale)
And the final story here sees PJANG cover artist Nigel Lowrey get his first interior work – “Lonely Boy: Adolescent Power Realities“. It’s also the first PJANG story that isn’t self contained and has one of those cliffhanger endings and “to be continued” captions on it’s final page (about which I will not say any more). This one’s another cracker of an outsider story and, up until the ending, is definitely the best on the book. It’s a wonderful little coming of age thing, as our hero Kev turns 13. Like he says, no more childish things and no more crying:
(Nigel Lowrey’s art to Rol Hirst’s super-story of a Lonely Boy.)
And then we get to see what a shit life Kev has when he get’s to school; bullies, detentions and a deep unrequited love for Nicola, girl of his dreams. Still, at least he’s got a good friend in Jason hasn’t he? Like he says later on…. “when your world ends, it ends in an instant“. So again with the end of the world stuff from Rol – he does like to get his themes going in PJANG doesn’t he?
Lonely Boy really nails the whiny, miserable adolescent voice and yet still makes us feel genuinely sorry for the mess that Kev’s life has turned into. And then we get the final page. And I just don’t know. I really don’t. It could be really great, could give us some lovely work from Hirst and Lowrey in the next episode. Or it could potentially ruin a really good story.
But I promised I wouldn’t tell you any more. For that you’ll need to order the book. Get it from Rol Hirst’s webiste here. And then you can make your mind up about that plot twist – good or bad. One thing’s for certain, I’ll be around to find out – and that’s always the sign of something good.