AÃÂ graphic novel of short stories based onÃÂ Wedding Present song titles?ÃÂ Yes please!
David Gedge and his band the Wedding Present have long been fans of comic books, going as far as to squeeze references into several of their songs and sleeve covers over the years. Gedge himself frequently turns to Twitter to tell anyone who’s listening what graphic tome he’s currently enjoying. Now comic book fans and Wedding Present fans can take this love affair to the next level with Snapshots. This new publication comprises a bunch of short stories collected in a graphic-novel, loosely based around the band’s song titles.
It’s not a new concept – in recent years similar books focussing on Belle and Sebastian, and Spearmint tracks have been published, amongst others. Though where those books were on the whole drawn or written by established comic book talent Snapshots is illustrated entirely by Lee Thacker, and written by a selection of authors. Thacker has previous – he worked on an illustrated book about John Peel’s Festive Fifty.
Entirely in black and white, Snapshots has more of a fanzine feel and it benefits from this. There appears to be a more genuine love for the band and songs, and this pervades throughout the book. What the writers lack in experience of comic book writing they make up for with a greater understanding of the subject matter.
The selling point for hardcore Wedding Present fans is probably the contribution by David Gedge, taking a break from writing his trademark kitchen sink love songs, to writing one of the stories in the collection. His story “This Isn’t What It Looks Like”Â is a tale of love, jealousy, broken relationships and death – no great change in subject matter then.
Most of the stories themselves bear little relation the songs on which they are based – taking at most a loose theme from the song title after which each story is named. Unlike a Wedding Present album, always a gem from start to finish, there are highs and lows reading this book. There are a couple of purely prose pieces which seem oddly out of place and several tales are rather simplistic (being locked out the house is never interesting). Perhaps they’ve missed a trick – Wedding Present songs and lyrics would lend themselves perfectly to being retold in comic book form, but stories with actually no Wedding Present connection except the same title as one of their tracks are of lesser interest.
Perhaps not surprisingly it’s Gedge’s story which stands out. You can tell he’s a fan of the medium with a well paced and exciting story.
The art on the whole is solid, but with each tale drawn or storyboarded in vastly varying styles you don’t get a real sense of Lee Thacker’s own unique style – only an impression that he’s obviously a talented illustrator trying out different things. His plain simple lines work best, with introspective character based tales, but he struggles to add a real sense of action to some of the more pacy scenes.
If you’re a fan of the Wedding Present this is a nice curio, but if you want dark vignettes about the human psyche stick with reading Adrian Tomine.
Snapshots is available to buy now.
All words by Peter Climie. You can read more from Peter on his blog here.