That wee wunderkind of storytelling, Adam Dembicki, debuted not one, but two new mini comics at the recent 2011 Small Press Expo or SPX as it is more commonly called. The two-day comic-book bender takes place every fall—next year’s event is Sept. 14–15; MARK YOUR CALENDARS!—at the Bethesda Marriot in Maryland and celebrates the li’l guys of graphic novels. And few get much li’l-er than Adam.
Only five at last year’s show, the junior genius presented his first title, Ant Army, an eerie, Twilight Zone-esque mini that is diabolical in its knack for leaving readers unsettled. My ever-Faithful Bloglodytes will remember I gave an esteemed four spiders to Master Dembicki’s terrifying tale (see “Ant Army by Adam Dembicki”).
I was looking forward to seeing my wee pal and his equally talented father, Matt, not only in anticipation of their latest creations, but also because I wanted to give Adam a copy of Rex Riders, the book I’d edited, layed-out, typeset and served as design consultant during my hiatus from the blog last spring (see “REX RIDERS or How I Spent My Recent Sabbatical”). The smile he displayed when he received the book was recompense enough, but he gave me a copy each of his dual debut.
I was thrilled.
As in previous years, I was representing Fanfare/Ponent Mon, publisher of only the finest translated graphic novels from across the globe. The booth was situated close to Adam and his dad’s location, a mere fifteen feet behind me and across the aisle to my left. As attendees came by to check out my wares, I was sure to alert them to the six-year-old creator in the house upon their departure, pointing in Adam’s direction.
At the end of that first day, I bumped into Matt. He was incredulous to the amount of traffic Adam had received. I mentioned that I plugged his son at every opportunity throughout the day, and he was understandably humbled by my magnanimous gesture. The next morning Matt and Adam met me outside the convention hall before it opened where Adam presented me with a piece of original artwork he’d drawn the evening before as a thank you for my help.
And it is with full disclosure that I tell you this, and that the young Dembecki’s gift in no way, shape or form has influenced my reviews of his latest masterpieces (ahem).
Jailbreak and The Never-Ending War, are slimmer—and in the case of the latter, black-and-white—yet no less compelling than Ant Army.
His latest efforts, Jailbreak and The Never-Ending War, are slimmer—and in the case of the latter, black-and-white—but no less compelling.
On the surface, Jailbreak is nothing more than just that: a story of a prison escape by a quartet of cons. It’s a more straightforward and furiously-paced tale—akin to that of The Fast and the Furious movie franchise—that opens with the prisoners making good their escape. A frenzied chase, complete with helicopters, ensues with little doubt as to the outcome.
The art further suggests to the story’s black-and-white result, and given a less-proven wordsmith, I’d expect no less. But Adam is nothing else if not a rascally writer, and he leaves his audience on the final page with the disturbing notion that the ending is not as cut-and-dried as it would seem, made all the more poignant by the simplicity of the story and stark art.
The Never-Ending War is more epic in subject matter and befittingly presented in full color; a galactic battle pitting Earth against Mars, which opens many decades into the struggle with the advantage having oscillated between the two combatants. Is the the final conflict? Will a victor finally emerge? That would be telling and would ruin My Faithful Bloglodytes’ enjoyment of Adam’s classic statement on war.
Adam talks about Jailbreak, The Never-Ending War and Star Wars with Joe and Rusty at SPX 2011
A mere six years of age and the Master Dembicki displays a tremendous depth and understanding about war that puts to shame that of the world’s leaders. Earth and Mars could just as easily be the United States and the Taliban or Israel and Palestine or any warring factions past, present or future. And the kid Kipling’s prescience at such a young age should be a wake-up call to us all.
Both Jailbreak and The Never-Ending War get four spiders.