April 17, 2015

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Linework NW Preview: Lost Property by Andy Poyiadgi


Written and Illustrated by Andy Poyiadgi
Published by Nobrow

What if everything you ever lost was lurking in a strange store in your hometown, waiting for you to discover it? That's situation postman Gerald finds himself in, as we follow his adventures in this short, heartwarming mini-comic that's about recovering more than lost property.

Part of Nobrow's 17 x 23 series of mini-comics, Lost Property packs a ton of thought-provoking ideas into its small space. While the question I posed in the opening is certainly part of things, as we move deeper into the narrative, it's clear that Gerald hasn't just lost everything from a tuba he used to take lessons on to a piece of sculpture that ultimately triggers an important realization: In his quest to follow his father's demand that he have a solid career, Gerald gave up on his creativity. How he deals with this physical reminder of a mental decision made years ago drives the story's ending.

That's where Poyiadgi distinguishes himself from many others working in the mini-comics field, This would be where you'd expect a very dark, depressing turn, but instead we get a more nuanced reaction that acknowledges the fear in taking chances yet also the possibility for hope that putting yourself out there provides. We want to root for Gerald from the very start, when he's cheerily handing out packages, while losing his own letter opener (surely a shameful act for a postman!). Getting to see him be proactive is exactly the right move for the story, and provides a very satisfying conclusion to his tale.


Poyiadgi's visuals remind me a bit of something you might find in a really well-done children's book. The coloring is soft, with pastel greens, oranges, and other shades as the primary backgrounds. It puts everything into a soft focus, which helps bring a sense of wonder to the narrative. This is a world that effuses hope in its color scheme, which works well with the story Poyiadgi is trying to tell here. His figures are a bit on the stiff side, mostly pausing to talk to each other in either full-figure looks or head shots.

They aren't the focus, however, as the real joy in the linework here is in the way that Poyiadgi constructs the panels themselves. On one page, there's a dividing line across Gerald's face, while on others, small, tight panels focus on specific objects. There's a really neat symmetry to many of the constructions, with Gerald framed by his objects or when a keyhole gives us am obscured look at Gerald's world. But the best part is this splash, which Poyiadgi had up as a preview and I share here to show you just how cool his layouts are. This one is the standout:

Look at how Poyiadgi takes us across his life, in objects.
Lost Property is a mini that stops and makes you think--first about the visuals that show a strong sense of craft and then about the philosophy behind the story. Maybe it's just where I am in my own life, but I think there are plenty of readers who can relate to the idea of giving up on your original dreams and what revisiting them might mean. That's Gerald's situation and we can only hope that if our own opportunity arises that we can rise the the challenge in the same manner.