Postcards: Stories That Never Happened
Random House Publishing imprint Villard entered the graphic novel arena with a splash after their acquisition of the critically acclaimed Flight anthology series and the subsequent publication of Elk’s Run. Villard continues to “[position] itself on the leading edge of popular culture” with its newest book, Postcards: Stories That Never Happened.
Edited by Jason Rodriquez, Postcards is a collection of stories inspired by actual vintage postcards gathered from flea markets, antique shops, and second-hand stores. The postcards may be limited to a single paragraph of text, but the creators that have contributed to this anthology have allowed their imaginations to fill in the blanks and tell the “true stories that never happened”.
Some of the recognizable names that provide stories for this 208-Pages black and white anthology are Joshua Hale Fialkov (Elk's Run), Tom Beland (True Story Swear To God), Robert Tinnell (The Black Forest), Matt Kindt (Super Spy), Harvey Pekar (American Splendor), Ande Parks (Capote in Kansas), and Phillip Hester (Deep Sleeper).
While all the stories are interesting and creative, here are a few that merit highlighting:
“Time” by writer Tom Beland details the story of Mr. Lewis; an elderly man who finds himself “counting the days…The days [he has] left on this world” after the loss of his dearly beloved wife Myrtle. Beland takes a sad but honest perspective on lost love and the joy of finding it, even if it is through the natural tragedy of death.
Written by Ande Parks and illustrated by Joseph Bergin III, the 8-page “Taken On Faith” follows a recent widow and her poor judgment in handling her deceased husbands affairs. When the widow meets the sly Mr. Falkeastein, she finds out that his affection is focused on her money rather then for the impressionable woman.
Even as one of the shorter stories in the book, at five pages, “Send Louis His Underwear” imparts a sinister impression. Using a seemingly innocuous line from the postcard (that also supplies the short’s title), writer Matt Dembicki’s tale would make Hitchcock proud. And illustrator Jason Copland’s gorgeous atmospheric artwork flawlessly heightens the narrative’s morose tone.
“Res Libero” by writer A. David Lewis and illustrator Danielle Corsetto tells the tale of young Gretna. Gretna is stuck in the country with humdrum parents and a lackluster existence. However, when Gretna’s cousin Verna provides the young girl with an opportunity to escape her monotonous life, Verna must choose between her small town or the big city. Lewis and Corsetto get extra credit for taking a rather vague postcard message and transforming it into a potent parable on the choices we must make and the choices we regret not making.
Finally, “Tic-Tac-Bang-Bang”, written by Stuart Moore and illustrated by Michael Gaydos, is a late-nineteenth century tale of tic-tac-toe con men and the dangerous roads they traveled. The photorealistic artwork by Gaydos supplies all the believability you’ll need to accept a particularly quirky, almost far-fetched, anecdote on confidence men and friendship.
For more info on Postcards: Stories That Never Happened, to check out preview pages, and learn more about the creators, visit the Eximious Press website.