Review: Hermit / Written by: Andy Waugh / Illustrated by:Andy Waugh / Published by: Self Published / Release Date: Out Now
When the ceaseless, inane banter of modern life becomes more than one man can cope with then the only solution available is to become a Hermit.
Andy Waugh is a man that knows how to make the most out of the limited time available to him. By focussing on short strips and illustrations Andy has built up a portfolio that includes HIVE, Paper Science, Solipsistic Pop, Mustard, Narc, The Bleed and Alan Moore’s Dodgem Logic. That sickening range of clients proves that Waugh has the talent to make great comics, but the big question is how he’ll fare on more sustained projects.
The answer, in Hermit, is a story that’s insightful, witty and accomplished but follows the typical model of writer/artists by taking a measured pace to the storytelling, so that it flows wonderfully on the page but amounts to a lightness of content. I associate this trait with writer/artists because where the writer and artist are separate one would always have to justify to the other why two pages would be used rather than one to illustrate a point, whereas an individual creating a comic can follow their own muse with regards to how much space to allocate to each section of a story. Adam Cadwell’s Blood Blokes #1 was a good example, featuring an elaborate travel sequence where the main character rides a bus that looks very attractive but doesn’t further the story in any way. It isn’t my intention to criticise anybody’s working methods, but during the course of reading an insane amount of self-published comics I’ve developed the belief that economy is a virtue for comic-creators trying to sell their own work. You can give your characters room to breathe when you find time to work on that long-delayed graphic novel, but with only 22 pages to impress I want to see as much content and value for my money as possible.
Back to the comic in question, Hermit, which is relatable, funny and warm-hearted, even managing to include a conversation about The Apprentice between a rock and a deer, culminating in the line “F*** off Trevor – no-one asked you”. I sincerely recommend Hermit, which acts as a great introduction to Waugh’s work, but hope that with his next sustained comic Andy Waugh will either more aggressively pursue adult work or commit to an all-ages approach, because Hermit currently exists as a warm and gentle approach to a uniquely adult problem. The next step for Waugh, if not a graphic novel to put me in my place, should at the very least be a Chalk Marks collection from Blank Slate Books or a 17x23 collection from Nobrow, because he very clearly has the talent to hold his own against anybody creating comics in the UK.