Friday, March 24, 2017
Life is pretty hard. It's easier when you have someone to help you through it. Whether it's a spouse or a child or a relative, just knowing that there's someone else to care for makes things a little less lonely. That applies even in a world where there's nobody left except you as in Tomorrow from Black Hearted Press. The issue is written by Jack Lothian, illustrated by Garry Mac, flats by Greg Watt and colors/lettering by Dha Nazir and Kirsty Hunter.
Focusing on one elderly woman living alone in Glasgow, or indeed any similar big city, the story unfolds during the end of days. Unaware that there is no-one left, the woman awakes to an uncertain terrain, of empty streets and buildings. Until… she finds solace in a most unlikely friend.
The opening sequence in Up was devastating because it's a stark reminder of how fleeting life can be and that's something Lothian taps into for Tomorrow. Lothian relies on a premise that people live and people die, but that doesn't mean that the in-between is anything to gloss over. The elderly woman is essentially nameless for the purposes of the story, but Lothian knows she has a name and had a life to go along with it. His tale is relatively sparse on dialogue but dripping in narrative in that Lothian provides her with a motivation to relieve her loneliness. Lothian paces the issue very methodically to reflect an individual's coming to grips with the fact that they're no longer alone in a world where they're the last human alive.
Mac's artwork is alarmingly simple in its presentation. Every panel is framed very meticulously as Mac reinforces the routine aspect of the main character's lifestyle. Mac very basic approach in style is certainly the right fit for the content of the story as he doesn't inundate the reader with tremendous detail. This works out very well for the book and Mac realizes that less is more in the art. The subtlest part of the artwork that might actually work the best is Mac's muted color palette which adds a very striking sense of calm to a world that's devoid of action.
Tomorrow is a very poignant book. It deals with very intense topics such as loss and isolation, but does so in a way that doesn't feel overbearing. It's not often that you get a story focused on a character so much older, but Lothian's dialogue and pacing make it work. Mac's illustrations are very gentle and don't try to do too much. Tomorrow is a very sobering look at a future predicated on the past and how one deals with it in the ever-changing present.
Tomorrow is available now.