‘Postal #1’ Comic Review
Postal by Bryan Hill, Matt Hawkins, and Isaac Goodhart introduces readers to the small town of Eden, Wyoming. A place where its own mayor describes as a “last chance” with it’s own religiously guided sense of justice. The story’s main character is Mark Shiffron, a postal worker with Asperger syndrome and son of the aforementioned mayor, Dana Shiffron. We follow Mark through his daily routine as he does his job, transcribing and delivering a letter. He visits his crush, Maggie at the diner where she tries to satisfy his Asperger syndrome food impulses.
His notice of red mud earlier in the story and a chance encounter with the local Native American hunter leads to Mark uncovering a crime which then leads to the city’s special kind of justice being dispensed at a town hall meeting. We’re left with a cliffhanger of a new crime dropped on the town’s doorstep.
Mark’s Asperger’s syndrome leads to a clear, blunt, and deliberate narrator for our story. We know his thoughts and feelings and what he thinks plainly especially when it comes to his opinions on his mother and Maggie. Within the story, it leads to a lot of trouble with residents including his mother, and almost Maggie, (although he seems to have developed a bit of a filter for her, thankfully). Mark’s character is very what-you-see-is-what-you-get. The dialogue in the comic works and conveys Mark’s condition to the reader while giving personality to the rest of the town even if it’s a little stereotypical and cliché at times. The real hook here seems to be the vigilante mentality of the town being faced with a mystery crime.
Isaac Goodhart’s pencils and Betsy Gonia’s colors really capture the mundane nature of the town well. Goodhart depicts a range of expressions from the cast deftly, handles details in some scenes really well, and uses space to a good degree. Gonia excels with detailed scenes, but seems to be struggling to find something do with plainer subjects like backgrounds or dramatic effect blank space.
Postal is a decent first issue. It introduces its setup and characters and leaves readers with a reason to come back. It’s kind of an old idea with more than a few clichés but also a few original twists on it too. How would towns like the ones depicted in Hot Fuzz or The Wicker Man deal with a mystery rather than being the mysterious presence themselves? The writing is solid, but I find myself wanting more reason to care about our main character, Mark. Hopefully, future issues will continue to flesh him out and do the same for the rest of the cast. The art has room to improve but it captures the tone and expressive faces of the cast well.
Overall, I got a very Tom Sawyer with Aspergers vibe from this book. It felt similar to Image’s Copperhead in some ways but without all of the sci-fi dressing. I hope it finds an audience and can deliver on its potential.