Select one of the keywords
Headstatic    by Jay A. Hacker III order for
by Jay A. Hacker III
Order:  USA  Can
Fools Child Comix, 2004 (2004)
* * *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

Perusing the pages of Headstatic immediately gives the impression that this anthology is comprised of a variety of authors and artists, all providing unique material. But readers will doubletake when they discover that Jay A. Hacker III is the sole author of this collection, which includes over two hundred pages of short pieces that vary drastically in content and artistic style. Beyond stating that he focuses on a grayscale, using more black and white than anything else, few definitive statements can be made about his work, which defies categories and stereotypes. It shifts from text-laden panels to text-free stories in which the picture tells all. Some pieces make absolute sense while others feel more surreal than an Andre Breton film.

The title, Headstatic, perfectly defines the resulting effect of this graphic novel. Inundated with dozens of short pieces, readers of this anthology will often simultaneously be ecstatic and feel like they have static in their heads. Numerous stories force the reader to think and engage in the story. The static comes from a sense of overload. Short pieces though they may be, this graphic novel is best processed in small chunks. Reading from beginning to end will only send the brain into a frenzy akin to the static white screen of a television. But that's only because there is so much to contend with in terms of themes, style, narrative, and genre, that to read it in one sitting is to guarantee missing something.

Of course, Hacker's work can be overwhelming and at times feel more erratic than anything else. Chaos is probably the one definitive attribute in most of his pieces whether it be in the art, dialogue, action, or theme. While some can easily appreciate this, others will be disaffected, even disturbed by it. If this graphic novel is a snapshot into the Hacker's mind, one cannot help but be amazed by the onslaught of emotion and energy he puts into his art. Not all readers will be so vehement and awestruck by his work, but none would disagree about Hacker's sheer effort.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Contemporary books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews