Given the snow being dumped on New England right now, this new graphic novel seems quite timely. Can I commiserate with those who are suffering under the chilly white stuff? More importantly, is it good?
Snow Day (Humanoids)
So what’s it about? The summary reads:
An outsider sheriff struggles to find his place in an isolated, snow-covered town populated by a hard people who are set in their ways and don’t take too kindly to strangers. It’s a place where folks mind their own business — however odd it may be — and do as they please. That is, until the calm, quiet sheriff decides to do his job…
Why does this book matter?
Sometimes when it’s cold outside, a wind is blustering, and a chill is in the air, a good comic is in order. This book is lighter on dialogue, but meaningful in its approach. A sheriff who isn’t the toughest, but knows what’s right must take on a few crooked folks in a small town. Rooting him on is a pleasure.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
I don’t think I could handle this guy like Spencer is here.
Writer Pierre Wazem writes this tale with an almost melodic sense of urgency. This allows artist Aubin to draw–clearly by hand–a quiet town that certainly shouldn’t have nonsense running about. Spencer is a local sheriff who looks a bit young, but certainly wants to do his job right. The story opens with a quiet look at the town which eventually takes the reader into a jail cell where three scruffy types sleep. Their boss Ross comes storming in demanding they be let loose. Soon the mayor is involved and Spencer gets pushed aside so these men can go free. As the story progresses Wazem shows us what happened to get these men arrested and all the while showing how Spencer is a calm and collected fellow.
This is a rather quick read, though it’s not less interesting because of it. Running 112 pages, Wazem has Spencer check in with locals, his old fling, the town nut, and an eccentric woman. While you read you wonder how you might interact with these folks and most assuredly you’d probably be far less calm than Spencer. By the story’s end a climactic interaction forces Spencer’s hand as the small town gets a lot more drama than it ever thought it would.
Aubin draws in a very calming sort of way, so much so that when Spencer must break up a barroom brawl the art becomes sketchy and messy. It’s a neat way to convey the chaos of the moment and yet Spencer remains calm even when the lines are flying. Cars, buildings, and environments are all rendered well too and you’ll never doubt this is a real place and it really happened.
It can’t be perfect can it?
As I said above the story is a tad slow. That said, it’s the kind of storytelling where a slow pace is intentional. It seems to flow just like Spencer’s calm personality.
Is It Good?
Snow Day is the perfect read for a cold winter day. Its protagonist is calm, reserved, and determined in a way that’s interesting and compelling. You’ll read this wondering if real life is really like this in small towns.