A Sort of Homecoming #1

Written by Damon Hurd
Art by Pedro Camello
24 pages, black and white
Published by Alternative Comics

The experiences of our childhood are always interesting when filtered through the perception of adulthood. Things often fall into place, or simply gain new meaning. In reading Damon Hurd and Pedro Camello’s A Sort of Homecoming one can’t help but reflect on your own past even as the central character does the same with his—with hopefully more cheery results.

When Owen was a child, his only real friend was David, even though in many ways the two were opposites. David was much more accepted and loved by his classmates than Owen, something that often made friendship difficult for both of them. Now, as an adult, Owen has to deal with David’s death… even as he tries to sort through his own memories and feelings of someone who was once his best friend.

Hurd’s tracing of childhood memories through the eyes of an adult is certainly a familiar storytelling device, but it still works just fine. Maybe it’s because Hurd avoids over-dramatizing his story; there are no lengthy internal monologues dissecting every event to hammer in the significance. Instead Hurd lets the events of the story speak for themselves, quietly laying out the events of Owen’s past. Hurd refreshingly avoids the simple traps of his situations; there is no apology lurking around the corner when David slams Owen at a part to maintain his credibility with his classmates, for instance, and there is no amazing last second reprieve waiting to help any failure. It’s very straight-forward, but avoids descending into cliche. The first of three issues, A Sort of Homecoming feels like a story that will work a lot better as a completed whole. That’s not to say that it doesn’t work on its own, but there’s still so much open at the end of this first issue that you can’t help but find the empty spaces jarring. It ultimately says a lot that Hurd’s story can be told in such a manner that you really feel the need to see the other installments.

Camello’s art is a nice match for Hurd’s story, with its stripped down yet realistic art style. Camello does a nice job illustrating Hurd’s ideas, from both the actual events of the story to the transitions between past and present. In a book where events from the present will spark a memory from the past, it’s important that you can instantly tell when A Sort of Homecoming has shifted timelines. Camello’s art accomplishes this perfectly, keeping younger version of characters distinctive but not merely looking like midget incarnations of our protagonists. These characters really look like younger versions of the main faces of the book, and it’s an important part of the book. With its strikingly stark cover, A Sort of Homecoming is a prime example of a book that can take something very ordinary and make it stand out through its usage.

Hurd and Camello made a big splash last year with My Uncle Jeff, and A Sort of Homecoming is a nice reassurance that it wasn’t just a fluke. By the end of A Sort of Homecoming #1. the biggest response will probably be, “Where’s #2?” Hurd and Camello should be proud because they’ve clearly succeeded in their goals.

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