The Dregs follows a down and out druggie with Phil Marlow aspirations as he tries to uncover the truth about his missing friend, all the while trying to interact with the real world through both his own perceptions and those fueled by his dependency on Listo, the drug sweeping the city. Starting out like a Columbo episode, with a Sweeny Todd filling, this satire of the battles between the have’s and have not’s from Black Mask is not for the squeamish or sausage lovers.
Writers Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson have given us a hero for who we can truly root for. It’s been said that men can lead a life of quiet desperation. Here, Arnold Timm lives desperation itself, with a hand to foot existence even if is lightened by the drugs, which themselves carry their own weighty burden. Nadler and Thompson writing reads like a detective pot-boiler, with mysterious benefactors and a small list or possible culprits all inhabiting the wrong side of the tracks. The dialogue and the monologue both work as I found myself rooting for Arnie and his personal quest.
Eric Zawadzki, provides that artwork that is well suited to the down and dirty existence that Arnie is experiencing. Heavy lines and skewed perceptions are the order of the day, as Zawadzki takes us on a virtual tour of the city, complete with bully boy drug dealers and swanky high-priced restaurants. There is a cartoony style on show, although the topic certainly lacks humour. The cartoony style is brilliantly offset through the use of sizing of the characters; they appear smaller and at times disjointed, which could be Zawadzki’s attempt to show how little these characters think of themselves and how separate they are from mainstream life. The darkness they face is also superbly realized through the colors of Dee Cunliffe.
The Dregs is a clever title for a book that offer so much from a seemingly simple story. Does the title reflect the characters, their part of the world or the viewpoint that society has of them? Either way, this book deserves to escape the dregs of the bargain bin, such is the quality of both the writing and the art.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to check what I am having for dinner. I hope it’s not sausages!
Writing – 5 Stars
Art – 5 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars
THE DREGS #1
Written by: Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler
Art by: Eric Zawadzki
Colored by: Dee Cunniffe