Jul 21, 2016
The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 513: ZZZ #1, March 2000
Okay, so I'll admit that my impetus for selecting this comic was that I've read the first bunch of comics in my collection, and I wanted to read the (alphabetically) last one. It doesn't get much more alphabetically final than three letter Zs.
ZZZ tells a lovely little dream story, sort of a cross between the Arabian Nights, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and Winnie the Pooh, all in a surrealistic and gentle silent narrative of a little man with an epic mustache. Alan Bunce's art is dynamic and wonderfully proficient. There's a great sequence where our hero squeezes himself into a mouse hole (it is a dream, after all), and the subsequent panels give us the mouse-hole POV, the character squeezed in at the edges of each panel. The effect is quite lovely. And his backgrounds! I think I spent about 10 minutes just poring over the details in the each panel on the first page before I realized that if I did that with every page, reading this comic would be an all-day endeavour. That said, it's not like the panels felt cluttered - the detail in each gave the world inside the comic depth. A tiny door in the background with a skull and crossbones on it caught my eye and then vanished from the narrative altogether, but part of me still wonders what was behind it. Detail in panel backgrounds should present the illusion (but is it illusion?) that there's a larger world behind the relatively small part we see during the story. And in the case of a dream narrative, that's a really fascinating idea.
According to the GCD, this was the only issue of the series released, 16 years ago, which is unfortunate, because I absolutely would have gone out and tried to track down other issues. He does, however, have a Tumblr with some great art on it. Have a look.