A comiXologist Recommends:
Harris Smith recommends The Grassy Knoll by nickdrnaso
Comics are capable of transporting readers to many worlds, from the farthest reaches of the imagination of visionary artists like Jack Kirby to the hilariously low-key absurdism of Jim Woodring. Sometimes, though, the best place a comic can take you is your own back yard, giving readers small slices of everyday life, populated with situations and characters that are recognizable and relatable. Such is the case with Nick Drnaso’s The Grassy Knoll, available now from Oily Comics through comiXology Submit.
The Grassy Knoll is deceptively simple. In it, a teenager named Tim starts a new job and, on his first day, is paired with an annoying co-worker, Sal. Eventually, Tim requests a change in assignment, in part to escape the boastful, overly intense Sal, and in part to get a chance to work with a trio of pretty girls. Later, they learn that Sal has been fired.
Much of the power of the Grassy Knoll lies in the Drnaso’s carefully crafted subtext. Though what is being said and shown in the comic is interesting enough, the ideas that are subtly suggested and not explicitly addressed give the story a great deal of weight. Issues of class and race come up, intertwined with questions about personal identity. The narrative climax, a gesture made by Sal as he passes by Tim, gains impact only as the story concludes, and when taken in the context of the title. None of these ideas are explained in detail, but it is that elusiveness that gives The Grassy Knoll its impact. What could have been a well-crafted slice-of-life story about bored teenagers trying to get through the day of a summer job becomes somewhat sad and more than a little menacing.
Though only 12 pages long, The Grassy Knoll feels weightier and more thoughtful than many heftier graphic novels. In its subtlety, Drnaso’s work is masterful, signaling the arrival of a major new creator on the comics scene.
[Pick up The Grassy Knoll here!]
Harris Smith is a Brooklyn-based comics and media professional. In addition to his role as a Senior Production Coordinator at comiXology, he edits several comics anthologies, including Jeans and Felony Comics, under the banner of Negative Pleasure Publications. He’s also the host of the weekly radio show Neagtive Pleasure on Newtown Radio.
A very generous review of my comic The Grassy Knoll by Harris Smith. Follow the link at the bottom of the review to buy a digital copy from Comixology.
Also, if you happen to be at SPX at this very moment, you can vote for this comic in two categories (Outstanding Story and Outstanding Minicomic) for the Ignatz Awards tonight. I think Chuck Forsman reprinted The Grassy Knoll for the convention, so check out the Oily Comics table if you’d like a physical copy.