It was only this last Wednesday that I picked up my pre-ordered copy of Heart by Blair Butler, Kevin Mellon and Crank! from Image Comics. As I mentioned in my Wednesday night post, I’d gotten the book because I was interested to see how the MMA sport would be handled in a comic book and because I have a friend, Erwann Marshall who has participated in the sport and makes short films. Erwann and I talk about his sports passion a good bit – I find it interesting and I’ve seen enough matches on TV to know that it is seriously intense. Reading Heart, was – although in a different kind of way – just as intense as watching one of those very crazy MMA fights.
In all honesty, I could barely put Heart down. I started reading it Wednesday night, got one chapter in and really just wanted to read the whole thing. But I had to get up for San Diego Comic Con at 4AM and I really needed the sleep. So, I forced myself to close the book but I immediately picked it back up Friday and finished the rest of the book – wow. I am rarely compelled to read a book like this. It has to be really compelling to bring me back so fervently. At least part of the reason I had to come back was that the story was so tight – there was nothing extraneous about the content of this book. The metaphor of heart was simple and fulfilled on all levels. The pace of the book was constant but never peeked, dull or missing and the protagonist was badass and tender enough to have a visceral but sympathetic appeal.
The creators of Heart have obviously done some amount of honest research in regards to putting this book together. In my talks with Erwann about MMA, I’ve learned a few things – nothing about actual fighting (he is a trainer) but some really good, little things like the potential to get staph infection while rolling around on the mats, etc. As a layman to MMA, I was impressed to see these references and excited that it passed my litmus test so that I could pass it along to the expert, Erwann to see what he thinks of Heart. Hopefully, more to come on that soon.
Story by: Blair Butler
Art By: Kevin Mellon
Letters & Design: Crank!