This graphic novel is the first of a probable three-book sequence, detailing the history of an electric fan business in Toronto and the two brothers who ran it.
No, no. Stay there. Trust me for a minute.
The first half is about Abe, the only brother to have survived to the present point. It's about his life, his company, and his failures. The second part is about Simon, the other brother, and the desparation of his own futile life.
Stay with me here.
Printed in two colours on an antiqued-looking ivory stock, this book has the feel of age. It has the weight of age. Abe's face is crushed by age. And he talks like an old man, a lonely old man. He talks to us. Part one is a single monologue delivered by Abe, an old man's ramble through life as a salesman, life spent travelling as seen from a dusty old shop with no apparent windows and no apparent escape. It's the last statement of a dying man. A man dying very, very slowly. In dust, and loss, and failure.
The set-up and subject matter could not be more ordinary. The execution could not be more compelling. It is absolutely, supernaturally rivetting. And it leaves you unsettled; touched too deeply by a cold old life.
Warren Ellis has written around thirty graphic novels, comics, prose fiction, journalism, videogames and screenplays. Sometimes he take photographs. He also creates and co-creates websites, including this one. He has awards and stuff, he's been in big magazines and newspapers, and he's been published in Nature, which he always mentions because it makes him laugh. He's on the web at warrenellis.com and diepunyhumans.com.