Old Man Winter and Other Sordid Tales
Written and Drawn by J. T. Yost
56 pages, 6 5/8″ x 10 1/4″, $6.95 US
An old man in the inner city living a lonely and desolate existence not much removed from the young people he tries to befriend is the lumpy little frame that J.T. Yost hangs his social commentary on. The old man, quite an unlikely hero, is up to the task and shines with humor and character in this Xeric Grant winning comics collection, Old Man Winter and Other Sordid Tales.
Yost states that the old man character is loosely based on a customer who frequents the art supply store where he works. Having worked in an art supply store myself (mandatory or inevitable for many an artist), I appreciate the details and cadences captured here: the monotony and need to create stories out of anything around you.
Within just a few panels, Yost brings to life a little drama taking place in the space of a couple of neighborhood blocks. Down to the pigeons and flies lingering over a garbage bag, a perfect gritty tale is told. A new tale that sets the tone for other previously published works.
“Old Man Winter” leads you to “All is Forgiven,” a tale about the abuses of lab animals. A bit heavy-handed for some and probably spot-on for just as many, the actual story and execution is credible. The same can be said for a story about the darker side of circus life which has solid design sense. “Roadtrip,” a tale about the abuses of the meat industry, proves disturbing but it is also a masterful interplay of the story of a girl and the fate of a cow.
“Logging Sanjay” is the other story in this book based directly from life. As the title suggests, someone is the victim of something. Set in rural Georgia, this is a confessional of sorts about two teens who repeatedly torment another teen they call their friend. The character development is engaging. Yost has a way with bringing out the more animalistic qualities of humans that is very effective.
If there is one message Yost would want to make clear it is that we humans are more like animals than we’d care to admit. For more on J.T. Yost, please read on to my interview here at Newsarama.