Comic Review: The Originals: The Essential Edition HC (Dark Horse)

From Dark Horse, in rides the Originals, a comic story of mods, rockers, and scooters, by Dave Gibbons. This hardcover collects the contents of the 2004 graphic novel, originally published […]

From Dark Horse, in rides the Originals, a comic story of mods, rockers, and scooters, by Dave Gibbons.

This hardcover collects the contents of the 2004 graphic novel, originally published by Vertigo Comics, along with 32 pages of sketches, logo layouts, character studies and other drawings. It’s also larger in dimension than the original printing; the hardcover measures 9″ x 12″.

Dave Gibbons (Watchmen) grew up in 1960’s England, at the time of street gangs. Gibbons has changed the look and names of the gangs for this story.
One group dresses ‘like Elvis’, and drives motorcycles. Dave calls them ‘the Dirt’. The other group wears long coats and drives ‘hover’ scooters. They are The Originals. And of course, each group hates the other!

The story pits two young Originals wannabes against the Dirt. But it’s not that simple. First, Lel and Bok, the two guys, need to be accepted into the Originals group, by doing something impressive! This quest and their quest for acceptance, manhood, bravery and sexual experience are the roots of this graphic novel.

Gibbons borrows freely from his own experiences and impressions of the 1960’s to create this coming of age tale. However, he transforms the settings and ‘uniforms’ into fictional territory, inventing a type of bike gang/science fiction hybrid. The structures are more impressive, the clothing is more like costuming, and the night streets are somehow more electrifying.

It’s an interesting interpretation.

Visually, this book, all in black line and grey halftone, delivers what we might expect from Gibbons; a carefully rendered, somewhat antiseptic (i.e.: no smudgy pencil marks or scratchy surfaces) graphic treatment of the tale. But what it lacks in visual ‘dirt’ (pun intended), it makes up for in ‘brass’. It’s blunt, it’s violent, bloody and brutal. It feels like life in Dave Gibbons’ 1960’s with its slang, and kerrang.

Dark Horse (Berger Books) The Originals The Essential Edition Hardcover, $29.99 for 196 pages Rated: 14+

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!