Written by Eric Hobbs
Illustrated by Noel Tuazon
Published by NBM
1938, Indiana, and three rural families lose power during Orson Welles’ radio broadcast of War of the Worlds. What follows is a taut thriller of betrayal and fear. Young Gavin and Kim are in love, but Kim’s father doesn’t approve. Marvin, being African-American, was nearly lynched by two white men, and doesn’t know if he can truly trust the three white families he finds himself with after escaping. Jacob’s angry and worried about his family, and Dawson, with his own family to protect, is too willing to fall into line when Jacob pushes him to do things he knows are wrong.
Eric Hobbs does a fine job crafting a scenario ripe for paranoia and backstabbing. Playing the characters off one another in various ways, he explores the bonds that tie them together and the fears that wedge them apart effectively. Each of the men benefits from Hobbs’ ability to make you relate to their circumstances. On the other hand, the women (excepting Kim) and children have no presence at all in the book. So while you understand each of the men’s concerns about their families, Hobbs fails to make the families themselves fully realized or viable as characters unto themselves. This shortcoming is a flaw, but not a fatal one. The Broadcast is a thriller more than anything, so its meat comes from watching the men each consider their course and whom they can or cannot trust.
Noel Tuazon supplies the artwork, a scratchy, sloppy inkwash that suits the nighttime, stormy atmosphere of the tale. More attention to the characters, however, would’ve benefited the book, as readers may sometimes have difficulty distinguishing many of the players. Gavin and Kim’s fathers, and virtually all of the secondary family, can occasionally blend into one another, although dialogue cues often help keep the scene straight for the reader.
It’s not a perfect thriller. The ending is a little pat, as only one character falls short of being ultimately a good person who’ll defend his neighbors rather than bury them, yet there are some good twists and fun times along the way. The Broadcast is worth a look, and it’s a slightly flawed, but promising step in the development of its creators, both of whom should merit watching in the future.