Saturday, April 12, 2014

Jan's Atomic Heart and Other Stories

by Simon Roy

I picked up the original printing of Jan's Atomic Heart at the Toronto Comic Art Festival back in 2009, and was pretty impressed with it.  Since that time, writer/artist Simon Roy has been steadily making a name for himself working with Brandon Graham on Prophet, and on some random stories in places like Dark Horse Presents, and the recent new series The Field.  When I saw that Image was reprinting the original story, along with some other shorts as Jan's Atomic Heart and Other Stories, I knew I'd want to own it.

The title story still reads very well.  Jan is a man whose consciousness has been transferred into a metallic body while his own body recovers from an illness or injury.  He is a little suspicious, however, that this body is not like other ones used for these purposes, and of course, things are not all as they seem.  Roy provides some interesting twists, and his sketchy, loose art style works well here.

I was pleased to enjoy the other short stories as much or more than the main tale.  In one strip, a man and a talking ape have been marooned on an island together for years, and when escape finally looks to be possible, they don't react the same way.

Many of these stories feature alien creatures or beings that would not be out of place in Prophet.  In one story, Americans try to sell weapons to a faction of insect creatures as a ploy to gain land for themselves.  In another, a bar brawl turns weird very quickly.

Roy is a very talented storyteller, whose work keeps improving.  His is a career I look forward to watching grow and develop.