You may well have seen the reviews I posted from Jan 2011 to Jan 2012 of Howard Hardiman’s The Lengths. I said things like this about it… “What stays with you on completing the comic is a sense of having read something raw, powerful, and very real.”. The great news is that Soaring Penguin Press have released a gorgeous hardback collection of this important work.
I must admit I slipped in reading The Lengths, after reviewing the first 4 (#1, #2, #3, #4) and haven’t read to the conclusion yet. Too many other books competing for my attention, and as soon as I heard about the collection of all 8 issues, I resolved to hold off to read it as one complete work.
But just because I haven’t read the second half, don’t feel like you should hold back. I reckon the first four reviews should give you more than a good feel of what The Lengths is all about and just how good a work it is.
If they don’t, here’s what Soaring Penguin have to say about the collection….
It’s hard being someone’s Mister Right when for a hundred pounds an hour, you’re anyone’s Mister Right Now.
A typical twenty-something struggling to transition into adulthood, in a city where everyone seems to have their price, Eddie has abandoned his art school course, his family, his lover, and his friends to follow a muscle-bound male escort into a world of sex, drugs and unrequited love. His new double life, creates quite the identity crisis as he tries to maintain the façade of being a typical ‘generation y’. To his friends, he’s a young man getting out of one serious relationship and into another; but to the people he meets through dating sites, classifieds and smartphone apps, he’s “Ford”.
Now, he is beginning a tentative romance with an old friend and having to face up to the challenge of being honest in a relationship, about what he’s doing in the weird hours he works, and the lengths he’s willing to go to to please himself and those he loves.
This is an intelligent and surprisingly romantic coming-of-age story that deals with gay culture, sex workers, art and just trying to make love work. Developed from original interviews with sex workers, Howard Hardiman gives a genuine voice to the anxieties and concerns of those in the trade.
About the author: Described as ‘suave’ by Simply Knitting Magazine, HOWARD HARDIMAN is a writer and artist who makes comic books about lonely badgers, dog-headed escorts and disabled superheroines. He lives on the Isle of Wight and collects jigsaw puzzle pieces he finds in the street. He is currently artist in residence at Quay Arts’ Jubilee Stores Studio in Newport as a part of their Start-Up scheme. In 2011, he completed an MA in Illustration at Camberwell College of Art, where his MA project, to make a comic based on interviews with male escorts in London, was picked up for distribution.
And if that doesn’t convince you, here’s a selection of art from the book to act as a sampler …. enjoy: