Babak Ganjei’s Road House

By Babak Ganjei (Records Records Records Books)
ISBN: 978-0-9566330-7-1

Comics are a uniquely universal and predominantly graphic engine of narrative which can be as clear, concise and precise as a diagram or as shaded and meaningfully obscurantist as “Beat” poetry or The Clangers.

Moreover, when sequential panels are loaded with layers of pristine clarity which are simultaneously hooded or non-specific imagery, the effects can be spectacularly engaging.

According to author/illustrator Babak Ganjei this particular pictorial feast results from a momentary connection of artistic drudgery to a state of pure channelled creativity.

“I was hung-over; sitting in my studio, everyone else was working around me. I had Road House streaming from Netflix, I started drawing it; more than anything just to look busy. However as I got through the first few scenes I thought how it would be nice to truly immerse myself in a project that would take some time and with that time become it’s own thing”

The enterprise grew and, despite overrunning the artist’s self-imposed time and space restrictions, gelled into a compulsive exhibition of artistic motor skills and disassociative construction of story elements. The brain wants logic and sees patterns: the hands and eyes just keep moving. Just ask any freelancer who has spent three days awake finishing a rush deadline job…

In case you haven’t caught it, Road House was released in 1989, a low-budget action flick starring Patrick Swayze, Sam Elliott and Ben Gazarra. It was directed by Rowdy Herrington, and John Wilson (founder of the Golden Raspberry Awards) listed it as “one of the 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made”.

The transformed, reconstituted result is a beguiling 192 page landscape hardback continuity (185 of which are the resultant images) delivered in a stark, enthralling monochrome which offers a truly raw storytelling experience, with one panel per page each captioned with brief, pithy “found” quotes from a wide range of other sources such as Foucoult, Foster Wallace and Baudrillard, Ali to Richard Pryor to Steve Martin…

A moodily effective, oddly gripping little (148 x 210mm) experimental treat, Babak Ganjei’s Road House is practically Dadaist in delivery and ferociously enticing, something no lover of comics or practitioner of the visual arts should miss… and perhaps later attempt for themselves.

Perhaps this is the beginning of a new trend or Olympic sport…

Tantalising thought, no…?

© Records Records Records 2013.