A couple of weeks ago local graphic designer and illustrator Ben Mitchell approached me to attend his comic book launch at The Press cafe.
He gave me a copy of Ghost Beach so I could pre-read.
When I opened it, I was struck by the smell of the paper and print. It is old school Risograph printing.
I was immediately transported to the age of seven, buying a Beano comic on a Saturday morning.
I started to read and was challenged again.
The language and concepts are a far cry from a kid’s comic – anxiety, depression, murder and deceit.
The characters are very real, the location clearly Newcastle.
Intrigued? You will have to get yourself a copy from The Press or Graphic Action in Hunter Street.
I struggled with reading it. It’s a form I am unfamiliar with. My brain wants to rush ahead to piece together the narrative.
I feel like I am missing something.
It’s not until I am at the launch listening to Ben and Murrie Harris (who runs The Press cafe) read out sections, that I get it.
They have projected pages onto a small screen as they perform.
It is hilarious - the whole thing has come to life.
And it makes so much more sense than my shallow read the day before.
The key to this is on the cover. It clearly says ‘written and directed by Ben Mitchell’.
The book is filmic – a static animation, like a director’s storyboard, but with so much more detail.
I just needed to unlock this, slow down and immerse myself.
So now I am waiting for the next instalment – like a kid again on a Saturday morning.
But I’d like to see more live performance of this form.
It’s great entertainment that could be explored further. No doubt a good way to sell books too.