Written by Tim Midura
on Tuesday, March 04 2014 and posted in Reviews
When his latest film tanks, Nathan T. Rex must find a way to keep his career afloat.
From the cover alone, we get the impression that Rick Spears and James Callahan’s The Auteur is no ordinary comic; it’s hyperactive, depraved and brilliant. Via Oni Press, with the first arc titled Presidents Day, the cover shows the lead, Nathan T. Rex, sporting a shit-eating grin and framing a shot using his fingers, while his eyeball bursts out of his head.
Nathan T. Rex was a high-profile, hit-making director until his newest blockbuster, Cosmos, crashed at the box office. He meets with the head of his studio to discuss his latest and possibly last project, Presidents Day, until he finally has a revelation of what he needs to make the movie a success and redeem himself.
Rick Spears and James Callahan craft a biting satire on the movie industry that doesn’t hold your hand to move you along. Instead it grabs you by the hair and drags you with its frantic pacing. Evidence of Spears’ great writing is that T. Rex shouldn’t be a likable character as he’s short and brash, but he has a charm about him. The issue is stuffed with funny dialogue as well, a favorite of mine is from when a director is being usurped, he throws a tantrum and shouts, “I’ve got the big name! I get the blow jobs!”
Geof Darrow on mushrooms is the best way to describe James Callahan’s art. His highly detailed work is meticulous and painstaking. Coupled with Luigi Anderson’s vivid pastel colors, the art provides a perfect accompaniment for Spears’ twisted vision. The chapter title page is the best example of this, with a violent double-page splash starring Abraham Lincoln. A small, but genius touch by Spears, who is also on lettering duty, is that the speech bubbles follow the rotation of the television as T. Rex throws it out of a window.
The Auteur #1 is off to a full sprint, with its irreverent take on Hollywood excess. As T. Rex himself states, “We are custodians of the most pervasive art form of all time.” He meant the movie business, but in our medium’s context, this original idea pushes the boundaries of what comics can be.
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