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The Homeless Channel    by Matt Silady order for
Homeless Channel
by Matt Silady
Order:  USA  Can
AIT-PlanetLar , 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

Just when it seemed reality television could not get any worse, Infinicorp launches a new reality channel; The Homeless Channel (THC), bring viewers programming by the nameless, the jobless, the showerless; that's right, the homeless. This 24-hour network includes a range of shows, such as On the Road, where two homeless people travel about with a camera lent to them by the station as well as the homeless cam for late night televisions. Viewers can tune in at any hour to peep through the cam into the life of the homeless in the wee hours of the night.

The channel is the brainchild of Darcy Shaw, who is trying to find a way to bring homeless issues to the attention of many while also trying to exploit the homeless (too much). Shaw thought pitching it was going to be hard, but never imagined she would actually be running it. As the show becomes a success, she must contend with sponsors and censors while keeping the material fresh and appealing. But when Infinicorp drops in Grady, a liaison to keep tabs on things, Shaw finds herself smitten with him even though he is essentially the company spy.

In the ensuing love-hate relationship, Shaw struggles against falling for Grady, while juggling a slew of events that will either plunge the channel into destruction or save it. Either way, it is all coming down on her and forcing her to reevaluate just what made her think she could do it and what she hoped to accomplish.

Silady delivers a story that has great tendrils of reality. None of his characters are perfect. Their struggles are real and go beyond the simple formulaic love story. While his black and white art is commendable, it is his manipulation of panels that is most appealing. Occasionally, through the use of arrows, Silady takes readers on a different route through the panels rather than the typical left-to-right and down rhythm. The faces prove most striking in his art work, where he puts great detail into lips, eyes, ears and hair, but then leave most faces fairly free of additional visual clutter.

The story feels almost fleeting - not because it is short, but because that is the emotion Silady evokes in readers. Shaw is steeped in a moment of great success and potential but is also suffocating from it. It is an experience that many of us experience, but few can capture it and present it as well as Silady does.

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