A semi-regular column about great comics you probably don’t know about. These could be Indie comics, comics with small print runs, or foreign comics. As reader and lover of comics for over 35 years, I’ve accumulated a huge collection. And this collection runs deep with the weird and the esoteric.
Timothy Truman has been making great comics for well over 30 years, and let me tell ya’, he doesn’t get nearly the level of respect he deserves. Back in the 80’s, he re-invented Hawkman in a three-issue prestige format series called HAWKWORLD. With lush artwork, extravagant world-building, and jaw-dropping plot twists, HAWKWORLD ranks right up there with WATCHMEN and DARK KNIGHT. Yes, it’s that good!
But as good as HAWKWORLD is, it’s not Timothy Truman’s masterpiece. For that, we need to look at a work that is considerably longer and considerably more personal.
SCOUT was published by Eclipse Comics back in the mid 80’s. Broken into two volumes, the story ran for 40 issues in total. Truman wrote almost every issue (there was one fill-in) and he did most of the artwork as well. It is clearly a labor of love for him.
Truman writes tight, well-plotted adventure tales with nuanced character development. He takes you on a journey, full of ups and downs, where you occasionally realize that you’re holding your breath in suspense while reading. That’s because the lead characters seem so very real. Their survival, in such a brutal world, really is a cause for concern.
Which brings us to one of Truman’s greatest strengths as an artist. When he renders a dirty, lived-in world, you can practically taste the dust on your tongue. Not only that, all of his characters wear clothes that look authentic and believable. And his heroes always dress unquestionably cool.
Truman was a member of the first graduating class of the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, and I’ve heard him speak fondly of those years. You can see Kubert’s influence on Truman’s work, in both his figures and his sense of composition, but ultimately Truman’s art looks “cleaner”, more clearly defined.
Also, Truman’s use of negative space to balance a page is really impressive. He gives us plenty of details where needed but the page is never over-wrought.
SCOUT reached its zenith with Volume 2 #1. It’s almost fully painted by Truman and the story is a tough examination of loss and love. It is also a very emotional story of a father and his young sons. Truman’s artwork on this issue is some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen anywhere, in any medium.
Just lovely, lovely stuff here.
Right before the release of SCOUT Volume 2, Timothy Truman put out a vinyl record-album. It was meant to be a soundtrack for the comic, but it was probably just an excuse for Truman and his pals to lay the blues.
Now, I don’t even have a record player but I needed to get this album because it came with a SCOUT mini-comic.
SCOUT: INTERLUDE is only 6 pages long. It’s not essential to the plot of the larger SCOUT story arc, but in terms of character and tone, this mini-comic is absolutely crucial.
Again, Truman shows us his dexterity with a paint brush. His sumptuous artwork is coupled together with a traditional Navajo wedding prayer. The results are both subtle and staggering.
I don’t know about you but I just want to live in this world, live in this moment.
But it is enough to simply witness it.
And be moved by it.
Timothy Truman is hinting that the long promised SCOUT Volume 3 is coming soon!
I can’t wait!
Next time on The Comic Exotic: More Timothy Truman!
See ya’ next time!
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