Transit
Medium: comic
Year: 1986
Writer/artist: Ted McKeever
Format: Five issues plus "the lost finale"
Website category: Comics
Review date: 7 November 2021
I'm reviewing the 2008 hardback collection by Shadowline that includes "the lost finale".
Well, that was an experience.
Ted McKeever's art is memorable. It's black-and-white, with people drawn as grotesque caricatures of themselves. Ugly, misshapen faces, teeth to give you nightmares, etc. Sometimes their heads are like geometrical shapes. Sometimes they look like carnivorous beasts, or perhaps beached disintegrating whales. He's more like Gerald Scarfe or Ronald Searle than the rest of the US comics industry, which he's no longer involved with anyway. (His wikipedia page says he's gone completely off the grid.)
For me, the most interesting thing in this book was the contrast between 1986-era McKeever (his first professional work) and 2008-era McKeever in "the lost finale". Older McKeever is more detailed and (when he feels like it) realistic, but also more grotesque.
As for the story, it's at once simple and not very easy to follow. It's a big, ugly urban sludge of corruption, gangsters, killer politicians, jailbirds, lowlife protagonists and a fat bloke in a mankini. We know who the baddies are. We sort of approximately know who the protagonists are. We're not sure where it's all going and at one point I wasn't sure whether or not we'd just had a six-year timeskip. (We hadn't. Bone and Spud are different people, of which I'd been unsure, given the art style.)
It's pretty much immune to analysis. It just is. It's monumental, in its way. Every page is fascinating and the scenes all work, individually, but narrative momentum isn't really a thing. It's the kind of early work that makes you really interested in what this creator might be doing in ten years' time.