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The Originals
Dave Gibbons
Vertigo / Titan graphic novel £17.99

review by Steve Aylett

For some reason I expected this to be a sort of Invisibles take-off, but in fact it's an alternative-universe Mod story in which the 'Originals' gang of the title ride around on hover-bikes instead of Vespas. There are no surprises in the story itself, a coming-of-age-in-a-gang tale, which is so rigidly by-the-numbers it's almost invisible. (This on-rails condition is, I think, a consequence of every single character being a bit thick and thus unable to diverge from standard-issue expectancies.) So what's left is the style of the piece.

This style is impressive, managing to be retro-space-age and drably English at the same time. The Originals wear tin helmets and 'mantle' puffer coats, and their hover-bikes are like grossly overweight mopeds. Gibbons gets this off perfectly - like a lot of 1950s/ early 1960s stuff, all the fittings look simultaneously cool and incredibly crap.

Instead of Brighton, these gangs go to a massive pleasure-dome that, again, manages to be depressingly UK grey as it stands in the rain. Inside is a giant mall where the gangs can rumble, all rendered in the range of concrete greys which are the Originals' main statement. Just like the real England, it would be completely different if it was in colour.
The Originals

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