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Far from the maddening crowd exists the sweetly surreal, architectural-driven world of Chris Reynolds. His style is at once both as strictly formalised and subtly inventive as Chris Ware's. Reynolds is heavy on the contrast, solid and dense with his blacks and whites , six panels on every page like a particularly driven series of woodcuts. This imbues his strips with an implicit nostalgia and directness - while the impressionistic tone gives his narratives a slightly fantastical dreamlike quality.

The Dial and Other Stories features three of his Mauretania Comics stories. The first juxtaposes space war demobilisation with feelings of abandonment , while The Golden Age is set in a schoolboy's dream of of marriage to his headmistress, a dream that goes horribly awry.

Never flustered, never forced, Reynolds (like that other fine British comics creator Carol Swain) exists in a poetic world all of his own.

     Everett True  Plan B Jan 2005


“Imagine Edward Hopper's paintings and Andrei Tarkovsky's films transposed to a rural Wales occupied by benign aliens. Yet Reynolds' visions remain uniquely his own, gently sinister and insinuating.”

     Paul Gravett  Comics International Sept 2004

 

"The main tale, The Dial, is a Kafkaesque nightmare in which a man returns from a space war to find his home destroyed by an alien mining operation. In other tales, various individuals find themselves alienated from the world they thought they knew. Alternatively maddeningly vague and intriguing, Reynolds' stories leave you wanting more."

     Miles Fielder  The List Oct 2004

 

"The Dial is set on a future Earth which has suffered defeat by another civilisation, the AUS, described by one of its members as 'a force of great gentleness'. The AUS are 'good and humane administrators' but humankind's population is dwindling and indeed, seems redundant in this new world. The story relates to the return of a decommissioned pilot, Reg, to his empty family home. The graphics are sombre, with large areas of black, and little overt action at first, merely a sense of waiting. Somehow Reynolds manages to make single panels linger, like long film shots. There is a sense of loss, displacement and disempowerment. Even Reg's memories seem to have been colonised when he spots hooded figures in the background of a familiar family photo. Reynolds footnotes, which continue the atmosphere of the story and are in no way 'reliable', describe the Dial as "a simple religion based on intuition, hypnosis and basic moral values, designed to be of influence primarily in a person's early youth and thereafterto act as a subconcious moral guide". Reg draws upon this guide towards the end of the story after his house is destroyed by AUS mining, and the insinuating inner voice of the Dial seems to herald a tip into madness. However it becomes apparent (at least to this reader) that Reg died in a mining explosion halfway through the narrative, and the last half of the story consists of the sparks of his dying consciousness - though as humans have been reduced to a race of ghosts haunting their former residences anyway, little seems to have changed.

The other stories are clearly part of the same world with an elegiac feel, the strange Golden Age sequence moving into disturbing black comedy, with small boys riding the shoulders of headmistresses through bombsites. The cover notes deservedly make comparisons with the mood of Tarkovsky's films and the collection as a whole is compelling and unforgettable."

     Heather Middleton  Honeypears #3

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