Top Shelf Productions
$10.00, B&W, 156 pgs.
Writer: Max Estes
Artist: Max Estes
I recently took advantage of Top Shelf Production's annual $3 clearance sale, which features a great selection of graphic novels and trade paperbacks normally priced at $10-$20, and reduces all selected titles to either $3 or $1. Top Shelf's annual event both reduces excess inventory, while also raising funds for the following year's new releases. Although most of the books included in the sale are not recent releases, there is some incredible reading material available, so it's always worth a look.
One of the books that caught my eye this year was Hello, Again, by cartoonist and children's author Max Estes. Normally cover priced at $10, this "mini-size" (in dimension, but not page count) graphic novel was available for just a buck, so I eagerly added it to my shopping cart.
William, a building superintendent, is not living the most joyful existence. Each day he deals with endless complaints from the tenants in his apartment complex, avoids contact with his parents, and maintains a guilt-filled affair with his best friend's fiancée. It's obvious, however, that there is something else much darker on William's mind that is keeping a permanent cloud over his existence. Without going too far into spoiler territory, an incident during William's childhood comes back to haunt him in a very strange manner. William is given a second chance to make restitution and get his life back on track, but the decision to do so will come with a cost.
While Hello, Again has a definite "I Know What You Did Last Summer" vibe (with a middle-aged protagonist rather than a group of teenagers), it's by no means a horror based story, focusing more on its emotional core with some dark humor thrown in for good measure.
You could read this graphic novel in about ten minutes, but I wouldn't recommend it. Although Estes' style may appear to have a simple approach from first glance, there are some powerful emotions at play here, and the book is best enjoyed when read slowly. This is a story about two people whose lives were destroyed by one bad decision, but one may still have a chance of redemption.
I'll be reviewing more of my purchases from the Top Shelf clearance sale in the near future.