Sometimes, when you buy comic books in lots of six and seven (or maybe a dozen) and then, before you finish reading them all, buy another lot, it’s quite possible that you overlook a little gem that gathers dust till you rediscover it (usually when you are looking for something else).
And so, last weekend, I came across Matt Kindt’s Revolver, a book I bought sometime last year and then forgot. A quick read and another more considered read later I was convinced that I had just finished a minor masterpiece.
That’s because Revolver is a comic book that oscillates between the ordinary and the extraordinary, the mundane and the apocalyptic and (bear with me a moment) red and blue.
Revolver, published in 2010, is the story of Sam, a feckless young man who is a loser at work. The world in which he lives is our world, with concerns about career progression, relationships, consumption, and wealth. Then, one night he goes to sleep, wakes up at 11.11 and is transported to a different world, one that is the victim of nuclear attacks and flu epidemics and where the only issues of concern to anyone are survival and safety. The switch lasts for 24 hours, and Sam then lives his mundane life for the next 24 hours. And then the switch happens again.
Kindt, who writes and illustrates his work, uses blue panels to reflect the ordinary and red to reflect the other.
Strangely enough, Sam finds himself more able than others to survive in the dystopian world in which he finds himself, even rescuing his boss who doesn’t particularly like him in the other world (he doesn’t like her either). In the blue world he has a girlfriend and loves her; in the red, he finds her boring and is drawn towards his boss. The only constant between the two worlds seems to be a motivational speaker.
Trapped: Revolver is the story of Sam, a man caught in two worlds.
The mundaneness of one world and the extremity of the other are reflected in a news ticker at the bottom of every page that incorporates the page number, as in X people bought Y brand of lipstick today or Y people were killed in city A because of bomb attacks today.
But Revolver isn’t as simple as The Office becoming I am Legend. Sam is disturbed by the red world, one where, ironically, he is almost an alpha male. He has to figure out which one is real and which one isn’t, and if both are, then which one he wants to belong to.
How does it all end?
I suggest you buy the book to find out.
R. Sukumar is editor, Mint.
Write to him at email@example.com