Stan #1 and #2 – Written by Rob Neil Gruszecki and Illustrated by Nicole Gruszecki
Oh man, am I a fan of this book called Stan! It is a common known fact that two is better than one. The Olsen twins proved it. Twix proved it. Now I’m going to prove it by reviewing two comics at once! There will be no way you can disagree either, because I’m reviewing # 1 & 2 of Stan, a clever and intriguing YYC Indie book. This is a book that will make you ponder your existence (both personality and on a larger scale), while at the same time making you laugh and appealing to your morbid side. So let’s get ready for a trip to Hell like you’ve never seen it before!
Stan is a 6 part series done by the Calgary based creative team of Rob Neil Gruszecki and Nicole Gruszecki. Rob is the one spouting out the thoughtful words, and Nicole is the one behind the lovely pictures. In part 1, we are introduced to Stan- a fallen angel who works as a torture room janitor on the bottom floor (a.k.a Hell) of the office building Eternity. Stan, like his fellow co-workers are paying their penance for choosing the wrong side in a war for control of the top floor (a.k.a Heaven). Each day Stan does mundane tasks and questions his meaningless existence as just another cog in the machine. Issue one gives us a look into the inner workings of Hell, and the lives of its employees, including their sad sack drunk of a boss (you may know this Devil). It also gives us just the right amount of backstory and a hint of trouble on the horizon.
Stan part 2 gives us even more of a glance into Stan’s past, as well as insight into why he chose the side he chose. It also introduces us to a young prophet with a cutesy speech impediment and the ability to heal. This can’t be a good sign for our buddy Stan, but I’m sure he’ll clean things up by Issue 6. Or at least I hope he does! It’s what I’d expect from my favourite janitor.
Stan the Man:
Stan is a very relatable character, and it’s hard not to feel for his plight. I’m sure all of us have made bad decisions we regret, and most of us have had mundane crappy jobs at one point in our lives (or currently). I personally can’t wait to see this character develop further. Plus I’m very interested in the choices he will make and the consequences that will follow. I definitely have a sense of foreboding.
The Important Stuff:
The writing is well paced and the story follows smoothly. The plot is very intriguing and original. It’s one of those series that leaves you eagerly anticipating the next issue. I really enjoy the idea of Heaven and Hell being on different floors of an office building. It’s very inspired. This series is a refreshingly witty take on the religious tales many grew up on. Whether you’re familiar with them or not, you’re bound to know enough to appreciate this clever re-telling. Basically it’s one of those books that makes you feel smarter just for reading/ slightly grasping it. The art is a perfect match for the story. The water colour style captures the philosophical tone of the book. It beautifully depicts this whimsically morbid world where Hell needs janitors and prophets need juice boxes. I really enjoy the torture room scenes. Tons of messed up things going on behind the windows, as well as many great horror movie references/ horror character cameos. Plus, the covers look great! I especially love the creepy doll on issue 2. I also love that the back of the cover gives you a backside view of the character, that’s a really neat idea.
Sum Of All Things:
You must grab this book! Not only to show your support for this talented home based team, but because this is a truly enjoyable book. As an added bonus if you pick up these books on Wednesday from 11am to 4pm, you can get them signed! That’s right folks this Wednesday the 12th, there will be a Stan signing. You better make sure you’re there or there could be hell to pay.