le 26 décembre 2010
Perhaps the title of this review is misleading. Throughout my time reading comics and graphic novels over the years, I have encountered three forces with the name Green that embody a special kind of magic. The first of these is Neil Gaiman's Fiddler's Green; the second being "the Green" that Alan Moore's Swamp Thing run explores; and finally, Seth's Wimbledon Green.
Wimbledon Green is a short portly man with erudite knowledge and taste in old comics, complete with a mustache, a small hat and cane. In fact, he is very reminiscent of another character: if that character ever became a rare comics hunter.
The story itself is charming due to the fact that it is about comics, and comics collectors each competing to get the rarest comics -- including and especially those of the Golden Age era. What I really like about this book is two things. First, how through small details, hints, and "rumours" Seth creates a very real fictional world. I really love how he makes up old comics titles and they seem and feel very legitimate for the purposes of this story. And I really like the personalities portrayed by the other collectors. Not only does Seth portray their greed or "enlightened self-interest" well, but he also makes it clear that there is a genuine love if not an obsession towards what they seek.
The other element I love is the drawing style. Seth himself claims that these drawings are inferior to the ones he usually makes. I rather liked them. They are simple, basic shapes: with just the right thick shading to be very reminiscent of a Golden Age, or at least an older comic. They are the kind of thing that invokes nostalgia and sense of wonder. Seth's style in this work reminds me of Richie-Rich, and the text's adventure segment seems to harken back towards something you would see in Carl Barks' Duck Tales.
Wimbledon Green's aesthetics and subject matter possesses a whole other kind of magic: the kind that reminds me of being younger and going to the comics shops at my Flea Market; or being in my grandparents' garage and basement and finding comics there older than me. These comics were like pieces of a puzzle from an earlier time of strange superheroes and characters on tattered pages and interrupted continuity. Wimbledon Green reminds me of my love for old books, comics and mysteries. It reads very easy, if that makes sense and is easily accessible to comics lovers.
Some people, including Seth, believe that this is one of his weaker works: that Clyde Fans and It's a Good Life if You Don't Weaken are superior pieces by comparison. However, while those other works are more detailed and less elemental in design, I feel that they can never compare to the feelings that Wimbledon Green invokes. There is something a soft golden dusty ambiance that is timeless and alive in this graphic narrative and, as I said before, I believe that any comics lover or collector would love this book.