STORY BY: Rick Spears
From the creative team of Rick Spears, James Callahan and Luigi Anderson comes The Auteur. Billed as a struggling Hollywood producer falling into a pit of drugs and depravity in a quest to resurrect his career, all of which rest on his new movie Presidents Day.
I was quite excited to read this book as Oni Press have really caught my attention lately with their fantastic series The Bunker and the Auteur proves once again that they are a publisher interested in making great comics.
The first thing that strikes you with this book is James Callahan’s art, every panel is so detailed that this world comes alive before your eyes whilst reading. The art gives this book a very Hunter S Thompson feel to it, it almost feels as if you are reading an unreleased novel by the author, littered with suitably deranged moments that will have you laughing and worried for this creative teams sanity all at the same time.
Each panel is filled with such energy that when the main character is ranting and raving he really jumps out from the page and Anderson’s colours really bring this world to life, they are bright and vivid the hallucination scenes whilst still being bright and vibrant but in a more toned down manner when things have sobered up. These colours really do help sell this book and both artist and colourist really do create such a great world for you to explore.
Whilst the art is fantastic the main issue with this book is the main character Nathan T Rex. The character comes across as a caricature of Spider Jerusalem from Transmetropoliton in the sense that they are both drug taking lunatics that will stop at nothing to get there way whilst being as obnoxious and chaotic as possible. The issue with Nathan is that unlike Spider he has literally nothing to like about him, Spider was an asshole, but an asshole that you knew had a deeper character behind him. Nathan has nothing like that at all; one scene attempts to show a deeper side to the character but quickly falls back into being a depraved hack. His sole motivation throughout these first five issues is to get with a “big-bottomed woman”, that’s it nothing beyond that.
The story itself is quite entertaining however, it does jump one from theme to the next very quickly, what starts out as a serial killer on the set of slasher movie to make it more realistic quickly devolves into what felt a very forced love story, the serial killer plot is abandoned half way through which is a shame as it was the most interesting subplot of this book. However, the other colourful characters in Nathan’s life really sell the idea of this being set in Hollywood, and from the sycophantic assistant to the Dr Gonzo style drug dealer everything is there in this highly satire version of Hollywood.
The humour ranges to the highly bizarre to the wildly uncomfortable and will not be to everyone’s taste. For example, the book starts with him metaphorically swimming through the waters of creativity (he’s actually on drugs) looking for something “deep” and “meaningful” and only coming up with a different president to be the killer, he’s parodying Hollywood’s lack of ideas!
The Auteur like its main character is a very frenetic book, if you can look past its main character and get into the story behind it, you will find an entertaining read looking at Hollywood through the eyes of Hunter S Thompson, and this book will find an audience that will crave more and more of this bunch of vile nihilists with each issue.
By Matt Deery
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