Review by: Bill Jones
Readers simply glancing at the latest hardcover compilation of Jason’s work from Fantagraphics may think they’re getting ripped off this time around, with only three stories in the collection, rather than the four seen in previous releases. But at the center of What I Did is “Sshhhh!” – a rather lengthy tale of the entire life of a (bird-)man, told in pictures, without the use of any words other than the section numberings. It’s an ambitious piece by Jason, but for this reviewer’s money, it is the tales that bookend it that make this collection worth purchasing. “Hey, Wait” is a touching tale about childhood tragedy that sticks with someone for his entire life. “The Iron Wagon” is the only tale of the three where the original isn’t currently available, because it’s out of print. The book replicates the beautiful red tone of the original, and it’s a fantastic mystery, expertly told by Jason, in contrast to “Sshhhh!” with plenty of words.
Pros: Three Jason tales hardcover bound to match the rest of the compilations. “Sshhhh!” is ambitious. “Hey, Wait” may be one of Jason’s most touching. “The Iron Wagon” is great murder-mystery fun. Good collection price.
Cons: Only three stories, and only one is out of print (i.e. the other two are readily available outside of this format). Introductions or retrospectives from Jason would really take these collections up a notch.
For more info, fantagraphics.com
Pads & Panels received a copy of the book from the publisher for review purposes.