In literature, writers often start their careers writing short fiction. Providing a convenient showcase of talent without the extreme time investment of a full novel, the short story anthology is a useful tool to the budding creator. With Headstatic, Jay Hacker has taken a similar opportunity to showcase his writing and illustrative talents, self-publishing a significant collection of his works. But this was no short-cut to recognition - the work here spans years.
This is part of its problem though - it's very fragmented. The vast majority of the stories included are single pages, providing little space for the presentation of anything more than a single thought, joke or idea. Although each piece of work is marked with its date, it isn't presented in any apparent order, leaving no theme or development to tie the stories together - not even the progression of the artist. This leaves the reader with little to take away other than a squall of images and ideas.
Hacker has experimented with a wide selection of artistic styles and influences, which he's not afraid to wear on his sleeve. Geof Darrow, Frank Miller, Jack Kirby, Dr. Seuss - you name it, Hacker has absorbed it, twisted it and regurgitated it onto a page or two of this book. However, it's when Hacker breaks out of homage mode and creates something more artistically original that his true abilities shine through.
Headstatic is an ambitious work that perhaps could have done with expanding and developing its best ideas and culling the weak. Instead it uses a scatter-gun approach of including a vast array of varied work in an attempt to please more people than it's able. However, as a showcase of his talents, Hacker has certainly proved he has potential for the future. But stricter self-editing would almost certainly have produced a stronger finished product.
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