We met Eddie, poor, messed up Eddie, living a dark double life, trying to be the good boyfriend to the lovely Dan, but tempted into the male escorting biz by a self-destructive streak and falling head over heels in lust with escort Nelson.
Eddie’s a likeable idiot, but there’s a darkness to him, and a feeling that none of this is going to end well.
And now here we are at issue 4:
“Eddie realises that he can’t continue to maintain a double-life as the boyfriend to Dan at the same time as living as the male prostitute, Ford. As he reflects on his first job with Nelson and its consequences for his relationship with James, Eddie has to face up to the truth: It’s decision time.”
Yep, here with issue 4 we get to see just how seductive Eddie found that first job, working alongside object of his lust Nelson, under the ridiculous name of Ford (Ford escort… get it? Nelson doesn’t, but you just know poor Dan would).
Hardiman tells Eddie’s story both in the now, with his life as an escort and a potential new life with Dan, and in the past, telling of a (doomed) relationship with James, the temptations of Nelson proving too much, and a life of vice just over the horizon.
The Lengths is dense, complicated and involved, and sometimes you have to backtrack to keep in mind just where you are, Hardiman’s storytelling is good, but occasionally, juggling two stories, two different lives for one character gets as confusing as poor Eddie finds it in the story.
Artistically, Hardiman’s getting better and better, really utilising his page, filling it with black, choosing interesting ways to lay out his pages, really working it so well, and not afraid to let the huge black or white space carry weight, mood and even story.
The Lengths is at the halfway stage here, and so much has gone on that it’s ridiculous to think of picking it up midway through. Each new issue that comes out demands a reread of the story so far, and when it’s all published, I hope Hardiman takes the plunge and collects it in book form. That way, all of the subtle nuanced moments from issue to issue will have more chance to breathe than they do here.
In the meantime, I’ll continue enjoying The Lengths any way Hardiman does it.
The Lengths Issue 4 (of a planned 8 ) is available from Howard Hardiman at his webstore, priced just £2.50.