A collection of two of English artist Winterhart’s graphic explorations of people dealing with people—and their own issues.
The first story follows the six summer weeks Daniel Bagnold spends at home with his mother, Sue, instead of going to Florida to see his distant father (who canceled the visit due to the birth of his daughter with his new, American wife). Sue’s father also abandoned her for America, and Sue still quietly struggles with these and other past hurts, particularly a teenage episode with a troubled boy. Daniel is himself a taciturn teenager, mainly interested in heavy metal, video games, and resisting Sue’s attempts to get him a nice pair of shoes. Tensions ebb and flow throughout the summer as Daniel wrestles with shyness and ambition and an extroverted best friend—and of course the indignity of having a mother. In the second story, Sam, a failed artist in his late 20s fresh off a nervous breakdown and back in his childhood home, has accepted that earning money from his passions doesn’t work. So he takes a mindless job with an odd little man named Keith Nutt, which amounts to riding in Keith’s car as the older man visits various office parks—and listening to Keith’s stories. They are an odd couple, Sam’s aloofness clashing with Keith’s demands for conformity—though, through his close proximity and artist’s eye, carefully studying the man’s roughly textured body and elaborate mannerisms, Sam catches glimpses of hidden truths beneath Keith’s bluster. Both stories are quiet affairs where inner struggles dovetail with the challenges of interpersonal dynamics, executed with deep sensitivity and sly humor. The characters can appear stiff, like positioned figurines rather than people, yet the rich detail with which Winterhart renders their faces and fingers, combined with his superb ear for dialogue, breathes indelible life into them.