Essex County Vol one: Tales From the Farm by Jeff Lemire

Essex County Vol. 1: Tales from the Farm - Jeff Lemire

I finished this graphic novel a week or more ago and I’ve been thinking about it a lot since. It had so much heart and each element, be it characters or story, had such depth that it’s stayed with me.

 

The story is about Lester, a young boy who loves superheroes and comics. He always wears a mask and cape even though he gets bullied for it. I really liked the fact he always wore this as I really sympathised with the idea he had that clothing shielded him and gave him strength.

 

When we meet Lester he’s living with his uncle and during a series of flash backs we find out this is because his mother recently died. Lester’s having a hard time adjusting to living with his uncle and escapes into comics in an effort to create some distance from it. When his uncle takes him out to the gas station he meets Jim, a guy who once played hockey briefly for a well-known team and someone the locals think is a bit strange, including Lester’s uncle. He befriends Lester and the two of them get to know each other while Lester scouts the area for an alien invasion.

 

The artwork was black and white which really suited the style of story. The lack of colour lent the novel gravity. The artwork itself was a bit strange and hard to get used to at first, but the simplicity made it feel more raw and somehow more real. Some pages were just artwork and no dialogue.

 

What I really loved was the relationships between Lester and these two men. Themes such as loneliness and grief were explored in this context and the characters grew as a subsequence of their relationship with Lester.

 

A satisfying read that I’ll always remember. I’m starting volume two now.