- Words: Tom Humberstone
- Art: Tom Humberstone
- Story Title: ...pregnant pause
- Publisher: Solipsistic Pop Books
- Price: £5.00
- Release Date: Jul 27, 2012
Posted by Andy Oliver on Sep 3, 2012
A haunting 22-pager, both bittersweet and pragmatic, and if the strip itself seems slightly ephemeral – somewhat fleeting and transient – then that is a wholly appropriate reflection of the tone of the story and its central conceit.
Ellipsis writer-artist Tom Humberstone is the editor/publisher behind British anthology comic Solipsistic Pop; a publication that I think it’s fair to say is not just critically acclaimed but actually critically revered. (Solipsistic Pop #4 was covered in an interview at Broken Frontier here as part of our regular ‘Small Pressganged’ column). He’s also the gent behind some of the most memorable small press books I’ve picked up in recent years, including the gloriously cutting Art School Scum and the resonant and masterfully communicated Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Crohn’s Disease. In short then, one of those creators whose new projects will always be both eagerly anticipated and considered essential acquisitions when announced.
His new six-issue series Ellipsis is billed as half a dozen interconnected but standalone short stories beginning with ‘… pregnant pause’, the tale of a teenage woman arriving at a metaphorical crossroads in her life that is echoed by the geographical one she finds herself in – the airport that serves as the setting for Ellipsis #1. This opening entry in the run has a simple but engaging premise that sees our young protagonist contemplating the nature of that environment, people-watching and observing transitory lives touching. Through her eyes the airport becomes a kind of nexus point of intersecting existences where passengers' lives are simultaneously full of unrealised potential and predestined mundanity. It’s a haunting 22-pager, both bittersweet and pragmatic, and if the strip itself seems slightly ephemeral – somewhat fleeting and transient – then that is a wholly appropriate reflection of the tone of the story and its central conceit.
As it’s published under the Solipsistic Pop Books banner it will come as no surprise to anyone who has read even just one issue of that anthology that Ellipsis is also a gorgeously designed package with a strong tactile element to the reading experience, including a die-cut cover. On the interiors, Humberstone’s jaunty visuals employ beautiful grey tones displaying a distinctive command of nuance and subtlety on the black and white page.
While Ellipsis #1 is, on many levels, something of a brief encounter, there’s a tangible feeling that it represents a smaller part of a greater whole that will be gradually revealed as each chapter of this linked narrative is realised. In isolation ‘…pregnant pause’ may feel slight in plot structure but this introspective, pensive opener has a charm and appeal that bodes well for future issues. Embodying the very best of slice-of-life comics storytelling, Ellipsis is both a captivating snapshot of a life in transition and an evocative, yet understated, character piece.
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