I’ve been reading comics for over 20 years now and very few works have challenged me as much as this book does. The Boy Who Made Silence is a daring piece of work that shouldn’t be missed. Logically nothing about this project should make any sense or even appeal to the general comic reading public. The artwork is erratically impressionistic and almost surreal like a fever dream. The plot is almost, if not matches the tone of the art so much that everything is confusing and a hap dash of nonsensical work. In certain sections of the book I was left scratching my head at what I was reading. Yet, it’s because of all these things I’m in love this crazy series. It’s literally unlike anything out there. I’ve been so sick of the cook-cutter work of the mainstream comic industry, when something like this pops up I feel almost refreshed. It gives me hope that, yes, this is a valid art-form that can be up there in a museum just like any other.
The Boy Who Made Silence was a 6 issue maxi-series, created by Xeric Grant Winner Joshua Hagler, and collected in a trade paperback to be released by Markosia Enterprises this April. The story follows a boy named, Nestor Gruford who survives almost drowning only to wind up deaf because of it. The lives of a small rural town are slowly changed by the mysterious boy who made silence. Did he create the event, was it someone else, or just a random miracle. In my previous review of the first 3 issues, I stated that I was going to turn this into a trilogy of reviews. I’ve decided, not to keep you guys waiting for what I think and get it over with. Just like before, I’m going to break down this review into issue by issue reviews.
The mysterious giant upside down Cat man has made another appearance to our hero. (I told you this is a crazy story.) The character is so mysterious and doesn’t make a lick of sense to the story, but again it works. We catch up with our main character Nestor while in school and we see the teachers wondering why he’s still in regular school when he should be in a special school for deaf children. He still can’t hear a word, which is perfectly displayed by the blank word balloons. The only thing he can hear are the words from the Upside Down Cat, who he later name’s Peter n Charlie. Is he a figment of Nestor’s imagination or is he real? We never know.
This issue really fleshes out Nestor’s home life, which I was dying to get more of from the last couple of issues that I didn’t get. Nestor’s mom runs a bed and breakfast house, but seems like something more disturbing is going on there. This is a very solid issue and the subtext laid out is far creepier than you can imagine. I don’t really want to spoil this issue too much. This was a great issue.
The crazy pastor Buddy introduced in Issue #3 returns once again.This time he shows up at Nestor’s home to meet his trashy mother. The pastor thinks Nestor is a prophet because of the mysterious silence he created during the first issue. We later see Nestor being taught sign language by the parents of the girl that saved his life. It’s the same girl that our young star has the greatest of crushes on. We also meet a truly disturbing 3 eyed baby as well which comes out of nowhere. This issue also clarifies my theories about what Nestor’s mom really does for a living in issue #4. We also finally get to see some more characterization from Esme, the red-headed crush of Nestor. Everything really started to gel together very nicely. None of it still makes any sense to me, but yet I’m still intrigued to continue.
Pastor Buddy reveals to his flock that he is dying. He’s grooming Nestor to be a prophet to take over for him when he’s gone. There’s a real interesting sequence in the book where Nestor is baptized, and suddenly the entire book turns upside down. Now I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, and I’m actually reading this thing on my computer. So here I am turning my whole body upside down trying to read a comic on my desktop computer. When my wife walked in on me, the look on her face was the strangest thing I’ve ever seen. You would have thought she caught me watching porn on the computer or something.
Anyway, after I stopped getting dizzy by reading this upside down, the book flipped back to normal. I kept thinking that the book would finally reveal all the myriad of questions that I was plagued with. Unfortunately, I never got anything. At the end of the book, we’re treated to a letter from the creator himself, Joshua Hagler. He explains that he basically ran out of money to continue the book and that a new set of issues are coming soon about the future installments of The Boy Who Made Silence.
All in all, it was an entertaining experience as a whole. It’s the most unique comic reading experience I’ve ever had, in more ways than one. The first issue is still the best part of this series for me. The middle installments don’t hold up to the greatness of the first, and the last issue was a bit of a disappointment because I didn’t get the answers I wanted. It’s still a worthwhile experiment in comic storytelling. I for one can’t wait for future installments of this series.
A fantastic work of graphic novel art that elevates the comic medium in ways you can not describe. Not all of it will make sense to you, but you will be compelled.
The Boy Who Made Silence (Trade Paperback)
Written by Joshua Hagler
Letters by Thomas Mauer.
Published by Markosia Enterprises.