Gabe Swarr’s ‘Life in the Analog Age’ Vol. 1 (Book Review)
“One of us! One of us! Gooble-gobble, gooble-gobble!”
WRITTEN AND ILLUSTRATED BY: Gabe Swarr
COVER BY: Gabe Swarr
COVER PRICE: $11.99 US
RELEASE DATE: Now available
The quote above, from the closing ceremony to one of film’s least understood oddities (Freaks), continually ran through my head as I read Gabe Swarr’s self-rediscovery epic, LIFE IN THE ANALOG AGE. Not so much because the book has to do with anything with freaks (though in a way it very much does), but because Swarr has a way of creating a connection that few other creators can. He accomplishes this by revealing his own childhood memories, both embarrassing and exciting. Some of these memories are deeply personal while others can, and have, been shared by a generation of kids who are just as eager to reconnect with their inner eight year old selves.
If that title sounds familiar it might be because our own Will Penny first reviewed it as part of his Weird World of Webcomics column back in October. Fast forward to last month and Swarr has released the first volume of his “bi-weekly cartoon/webcomic” in print, collecting the entire first year’s worth of childhood (mis)adventures alongside special bonus content.
The book begins with a rather humbling forward by none other than Jorge Gutierrez (El Tigre, Super Macho), followed by an introduction from Swarr himself explaining the origins of the title and how his first webcomic, Big Pants Mouse, prepared him to move forward. From there the book pretty much follows the series in the sequence as they appeared online, leading to a 13-page exclusive short called Grasshopper.
The bonus content especially hits home with a mix of early concept artwork and family photos, color test, teaser comic strips, model sheets and sketches. Swarr evens takes the time to explain how the elements of the strip evolved over time, including sample roughs and layouts for several pages. It’s honestly one of the most extensive bonuses I’ve ever seen in a graphic novel and one that fans and fellow artists are sure to appreciate. There’s even a chronological tree for those continuity buffs in the audience.