A few months ago Mome 19 came out. It’s an anthology book put out by Fantagraphics full of what you could call "alternative comics" by both new and established artist. And if you picked up #19 you were probably struck by one story in particular: A story inspired by Steve Ditko’s "Driven to Destruction" called "Evelyn Dalton-Hoyt" by D.J. Bryant.
It’s a fantastic piece of work. The level of craft that DJ demonstrates in these 21 pages is amazing and humbling. It causes me to look at my own work and wonder, "what the hell am I doing?"
Here’s the first page.
As you probably know, if you’ve been following my blog, DJ and I go way back. REALLY far back! We met when we were 12. He’s my best friend. I hesitate to bring this up right now because I don’t want my opinion on his work to seem biased. I’m recommending you pick up Mome 19 just for DJ’s story and I want you to know that it’s not because he’s my friend. It’s because it’s really good. I would just as soon not bring up our friendship, but… how do I not bring that up? My friendship with DJ gives me insight into his work and him as a creator that I don’t think anyone else could have.
I could tell you a lot about what inspired DJ in creating this story, and about his process and stuff like that. I could point out that every car in the story is based on a first generation Transformer. But that’s not what I mean when I say that I have a unique insight. First, as a fellow comic artist I can recognize the craft that is in the work. He has an incredible attention to detail; every article of clothing the characters wear, every prop, is thought out and works together to create his world. The thoughtful and creative story telling, even at it’s most experimental, manages to always work for his story. I can also tell you, knowing DJ personally, that he’s some kind of genius. There’s a lot more where this story came from. He is thoughtful about his artistic choices, and he’s very knowledgeable about the comic book medium. He has a large story-telling "vocabulary" and he uses it very well.
"The real prize here is DJ Bryant… It might be necessary to clear off the mantelpiece and yell at the moon for a little while, because now there’s another reason to get a little bit ecstatic about comics for a moment."
"Mome’s editorial staff excavates some undiscovered diamond in the rough and this summer, they struck sequential art gold. D.J. Bryant’s vibrantly perverted take on “Driven to Destruction” is less an update and more a revisionist move… However, Bryant doesn’t rest on the dubious laurels of simple envelope-pushing; he is a startling talented draftsman who easily proves himself the equal of a Ditko homage."
"Hold onto your hats for the precipitous plunge that is the tale of "Evelyn Dalton-Hoyt." Within this work’s 21 tumultuous pages, author/artist, D.J. Bryant has penned a demonically deft deconstruction of "Driven to Destruction."
"D.J Bryant has some serious chops… A really impressive introduction to a talent I wasn’t aware of."
"That D.J. Bryant story was the star of the show for me."
"Evelyn Dalton Holt’ by D.J. Bryant delivers a witheringly painful, sexually explicit neo-noir psycho-thriller that will delight all fans of hard-edged fiction."
"D.J. Bryant, whom I’d never read before, blew me away with "Evelyn Dalton-Hoyt", an appreciation of fear of death and emasculation that takes the form of a Lynchian crime/sex thriller. Bryant’s drawing looks like a full-grown hybrid of Brian Bolland, Charles Burns, and Daniel Clowes; he’ll be famous if he keeps doing this."
I noticed that some reviewers mention how DJ has no presence on the internet. It’s true. I suppose it only adds to his mystique. He did have a Live journal page a while back, some of you in LJ community might remember, called Snar-fled and Friends, but it’s been almost 2 years since he posted on there. So where is he?
Well, his computer crashed and he’s only just recently been able to do anything about it. As I understand he’ll be back up and running with an all new Live journal soon. Until then I strongly encourage you to go back and check out the Snar-fled site. There is a whole lot of goodness there.