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Posted September 4, 2003
People often value Grant Morrison's writing for the brilliantly strange concepts he infuses into his work. His work on The Filth and Invisibles has been noted by fans of Morrison's for its delightful complexity, how incredibly thought-provoking and subtle his storytelling can be in the midst of all these weird events that happen. A Grant Morrison story might seem odd or 'weird for weird's sake' at first but it hints at so much more meaning beneath the surface. Similarly creators Matt Cashel and Jeremy Haun explore some bizarre ideas of their own in Paradigm, an Image book currently on its tenth issue (with the eleventh due any day now) that surely would appeal to fans of Morrison's work. If I had to describe this series, I would refer to it as 'David Lynch meets X-Files' but even that doesn't do justice to the mad and complex stories found in Paradigm. This book defies definition and cannot be easily summarized. It is not the kind of book you can read in ten minutes and be done with. Those looking for something light and fun should go elsewhere, because this book requires an in-depth read. You have to read each issue over and over to get every subtle nuance of the storytelling. Yet like the most intriguing of puzzles, once you start to get a glimpse of the bigger picture, you can't get enough of this world and are driven to seek out more answers in the book until it all finally comes into focus. Paradigm's first collection, Segue to an Interlude, contains the first four issues of the series and introduces readers to many of the concepts that spring from the twisted mind of Cashel and run throughout the book. In this collection we meet Chris Howells. He is an ordinary man with an ordinary life and an ordinary girlfriend Emma who he doesn't really like all that much any more but whom he stays with because she's comfortable. But after they are almost mugged one night, Chris finds himself mixed up in a war for the fate of the world. In this war, there are two factions: those who would fight to keep the status quo as it is now, to maintain the humdrum yet safe lives we have built up, and those who want to tear down all of that banality and who are trying to bring about an evolution of sorts. Chris quickly gets sucked into this world in which cats can suddenly talk, strange men and pubs appear as if from nowhere, and strange women pull back a shower curtain to reveal a portal into another world. The unreality of the situation is contrasted with the people and their real-life, everyday situations. The characters could be people we know, that we might run into on the street of any average town in America. They talk about their favorite movies, drink and hook up at bars, and get into arguments with their pot-smoking neighbors. Life in Bogsdale would seem mundane if not for the weirdness surrounding them at all times, permeating the atmosphere. The touch of realism in Paradigm is built upon through the photo-realistic artwork of Jeremy Haun. Heavily photo-referenced, Haun's style brings to mind the early works of Bendis or some of Tony Harris's art. At the same time, the heavy black lines he uses bring that sense of the strange and bizarre to the surface, leaving us with the feeling that at any moments some bestial creature might spring out at us. His artwork is both very human and at the same time very haunting. It is a fine line to walk, but Haun manages it with ease. The book can be extraordinarily dense at times and it is obviously not for those looking for an easy read (a fact that has led the creators to take a hiatus after issue twelve to figure out how to make the book more accessible). But Paradigm is worth digging into to find the hidden meanings, and reading it in one lump sum, as you can with this new trade paperback Segue to an Interlude, makes finding that meaning all the easier.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.