The Comics Page: Gary Spencer Millidge
Just in case, you've been wondering whatever happened to Gary Spencer Millidge, the MIA creator of, arguably, one of the best indy comics ever published -- the very British mystery series Strangehaven -- you'll be glad to know he's still alive, and intends to finish his masterwork some day...
That's little consolation for friends and fans of this wonderful series, a unique blend of textures that summon up visions of David Lynch's classic soap serial Twin Peaks mixed with a bit of Brigadoon.
The big picture story: A Londoner named Alex running away from a bad marriage, crashes his car in the English Midlands. He's taken to a town called Strangehaven to heal, both body and soul. The residents of this quintessential little town take a shine to Alex, and the feelings are mutual (even more so for one young Janey). Oh, and by the way, the town just a lost a teacher, and guess what Alex does for a living...
Only one problem: Every time Alex tries to leave Strangehaven for any reason, he can never quite get out of town. Throw in the Freemasons, UFOs, adultery, World War II, Shamanism and talking animals who love Tom and Jerry cartoons for good measure and you've got one intriguing mystery.
Strangehaven is a rarity among indy books of recent memory, because each single issue is a complete package of story and art, from the lush painted covers down to the perfect font on the lettercols. Nothing is slapdash. Nothing is left to chance. It's one of the very few pamphlet comics well worth your investment of time and money, and that's saying a lot in this graphic novel-centric culture of ours.
But, don't take my word for it. Check out this free excerpt from the second volume of Strangehaven entitled Brotherhood on Google Book Search. If you like what you see there, check out Gary's beautiful gallery of original art on his Web site. And, if you're a little persistent, you may still be able to find his out-of-print tribute book, Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman, at a fine comic book store near you.