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Book Review < Back


Credits: Written and Illustrated by Tom Hart
Publisher: Top Shelf


The more I read this book, the more I like it. The first time? Not so much. The second, a little more, and I'd found enough that I could recommend it here without feeling like a filthy shill. And as I started sketch out the review in my head, I probably went back and read it three or four more times, it growing on me with each successive read.

Barney Banks is a lazy little misanthrope of the Walter Mitty ilk. A nebbish-y little cretin, his vivid life of the mind far exceeds the events or actions that he himself seems capable of. After the death of his dog, Barney decides to throw himself headlong into catastrophe and calamity, departing his mild Boston climes for hurricane-braced Florida, seemingly in an attempt to relive one of his favorite films, The Mosquito Coast. Trapped in the Ocean Motel with a bunch of drunken Kiwanis from Ohio, Barney Banks finds himself, for the first time in his life, a man capable of making and meeting own destiny.

Deceptively simple, yeah? Add to it that Tom Hart comes from the Chester Brown school of minimalism and BANKS/EUBANKS can, at first blush, come off as a glib, brisk little trifle. But upon revisiting it more and more, I'm finding Hart's subtleties, humanity, and gentle-yet-uproarious humor more and more compelling and satisfying.

And now, the weirdest thing has happened: I feel a little guilty for not getting it and getting into it right off the bat.

-- Matt Fraction

Matt Fraction splits his time between motion graphics and design house MK12, writing comics, and reading comics. He is the author of the graphic novels The Annotated Mantooth and Last of the Independents, both available from AiT/Planet Lar. He can be found on the web at mattfraction.com. His wife is hot.


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