Indie Comic Review: Tick

Tick is the kind of book that makes you sit up and take notice. It is unlike anything else I have read recently (in both form and storytelling). More importantly, it challenges the reader to think about issues of life, death, friendship, and humanity. Not bad for an almost completely wordless book.

To say that Tick is over-sized is an understatement. When I first opened the package from Kenan Rubenstein, I thought he had sent me a calendar by mistake. The book was huge and, well, shaped like a calendar. When I opened the book, the illusion continued as the pages and panels were laid out to look like a calendar. Since one of the elements in the story is the passage of time, this was a neat trick which served to reinforce part of the storytelling experience.

Equal parts Frankenstein (the original story, not the Hollywood horror movies) and Pinocchio, Tick tells the story of a mechanical man who is brought to life, only to have his creator disappear. The man is left to discover life on his own, and hope for his creator’s eventual return. Unfortunately, that explanation does not do the story justice. However, to explain more would spoil a good deal of the fun.

Suffice it to say that the ending of the story begs the reader to go back and search through the story for clues. Scattered throughout there are hints and visual cues that, once the reader knows how the story ends, are little easter eggs which can be spotted upon re-reading.

As I mentioned above, Tick is almost completely silent. The burden of the storytelling falls on Rubenstein’s art. Luckily, the art is magnificent. The art is clean, descriptive, and engaging. Even when Rubenstein strays from the strict calendar format, the art never becomes difficult to follow. His sense of motion, perspective, and relationships is superb. I cannot wait to see what he creates next!

Unfortunately, due to the size and shape of Tick, many comic shops declined to carry the book. So, I encourage everyone to visit Kenan’s websiteand order a copy from him. It is well worth the effort. You will not be disappointed!

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