In Review – ‘The Hum’ by Gareth A. Hopkins

‘The Hum’

Created by Gareth A. Hopkins.

Limited Release – Full Colour – 24 pages A5.

Gareth A. Hopkins continues to release comics that slip the reader a whispered mystery that they can choose to solve or just enjoy his visual tactics and sharply communicated narrated poetry.

I am always up for taking part in art created by Mr. Hopkins. I genuinely feel a sense of active participation as a viewer where he is concerned. And I will always jump at the chance to purchase his books. Many of his recent releases are limited print runs and you have to be quick off the marks with your PayPal at the ever-ready.

‘The Hum’ has turned into another one of a series of comics that I’ll say are my favourites with each and every delivery.

This is a Hopkins creation where it is hard to put into words why and how it works. But I will try my best. The abstraction may not be to everyone’s taste but it hits a thoughtfully inspirational sweet spot in my locked down New Year weekend.

The cover is heavy and and swollen with drips, dashes and smotherings of paint. At first I found this shell a little too bright, a little too multi-coloured. Like looking at at a field of snow for the first time. It stabbed at the back of my eyeball. I wondered if the interiors would be the same? It cracks ever so slightly as I open. You get the sense that this is a one-off meant specially for your own private ingestion. The inside of the cover has three vertical stripes of micropore tape with the name of the book, the author and ‘Nov 2020’ written in dark brush pen.

The interior art is more mellow and colour muted. It suits the narration styled poetry with a gentler flow. Like other works of Mr. Hopkins you read what seem to be short snatched sentences of moment to moment thought. The type that any of us otherwise allow to drift away, never to be thought again.

But Hopkins retains that ephemeral moment and releases it onto a page of what is often pure abstract art but occasionally something that forms into a recognisable image. There are faces and creatures in this book. But occasionally literally, as page three shows us a ghostly image of the artist himself. He speaks of noises that evoke contemplations of uncompleted stories but also simultaneously makes us question the nature of our own and the author’s memory. I wonder what prompts these thoughts and if I have gained an insight into the mind of the artist here?

After the emergence albeit briefly of the face of the narrator the story slips back into the abstract. This is something I have come to enjoy in both Hopkins comics and his so-called office meeting ‘doodles’ on social media (they are actually so much more!). It induces in me a visually mellifluous trance-like state. I am drawn deep into the swirl and crash of the panels. Then layered on top is the text. It goes beyond what I assume to be the author’s momentary thoughts and into a circular conspiracy. They takes jumps back and forward in time and in reading order with repeated phrases.

Then it ends on a question that both chills and raises a smile. I’ll leave that to you to discover.

Also in the envelope is a combination of a personalised ‘Thank You’ and a piece of art. ‘How cool’ I think to myself as I consider how to store this for my future self.

‘The Hum’ again stands proudly with a foot in the comics camp and a foot in the art camp. I claim Hopkins for us comics readers everywhere but it is surely only a matter of time before he is swept away to Gallery Glory! His work is deeply personal and complicated and maybe not for the average autobiographical zine reader or superhero fanatic. But give it a go anyway – it may educate you.

You can find more evidence of ghosts and domestic happenings by visiting his shop here and by following him on Twitter right here.

Many thanks for reading.

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