The Originals: Special Ashcan Edition (May, 2004)
By Dave Gibbons
Edited by Pornsak Pichetshote & Karen Berger
Even some five-six months after moving house, it’s crazy how much of my life is still in boxes… and not just those long white ones we like to stack to the ceiling, either.
Came across the book we’re going to discuss today in a random box, along with some of my “Press” materials from when I volunteered at the Phoenix (Cactus) Comicon back in the md-2000’s… and hadn’t the foggiest clue what it was!
My “ashcan” collection is… pretty small, I guess. Just a handful of ’em. I never quite know where to “keep” them, you know? I suppose I could bag-n-board them, and just file them in the longboxes… well, yeah… that’s probably the smart thing to do. Problem solved!
That’s what we do here at our humble blog… find problems, and talk our way to solutions! Today ashcan-filing, tomorrow… low -fat cookies that taste good and world peace!
Anyhoo… any time I cover an ashcan or a “special preview” here, I feel like I’m cheating a bit… I mean, we’ve covered 100 page issues here, and today… I think this bugger weighs in at less than 10! Oh well, I guess it’s not a terrible thing to take it easy every now and again. After all, we’ve been at this for 789 days straight…
We open with a young fella named Lel waxing… er, petulant? We get a bit of him complaining about the generation that came before him… he comes across here as very angry… very teen-agery. He also mentions his good friend Bok. Bok’s a guy who was picked on because he is black.
Lel would stand up for Bok… and as such, found himself becoming pretty good at fighting. He an Bok shared many interests… including the desire to join The Originals!
The Originals are a gang of oddly-dressed folks who ride “Hovers”… which are basically hovering motorcycles/scooters. We see Lel (I assume), in full Originals regalia standing before a tagged wall.
We flash back to when Lel and Bok tagged that wall with The Originals logo. Bok expresses a bit of concern… and Lel assures him “The Dirt” won’t show up to put a crimp on their good time. I can only assume that “The Dirt” is slang for police here? Maybe some other governmental authoritarian unit? Who knows?
As they tag, they discuss their goals… chief among them, coming up with the scratch to afford a “Hover” so they might join The Originals. Some kid called Warren shows up to deliver some Dirty news… The Dirt yanked one of “Ronnie’s boys” off their Hover. Not sure if Ronnie is tied up with The Originals… but Lel and Bok aren’t pleased regardless. They tell Warren to beat it.
Lel and Bok return to the task at hand when suddenly… Hovers approach!
It’s… The Originals! And we’re out of time…
Well, that was short and sweet! Not at all what I expected, either! Looking at the cover, I’d have bet money we were about to read about some weird band… not a futuristic motorcycle gang!
We don’t get a whole heckuva lot here, but what we do get is pretty good. I could do without the whole “screw you, dad” sentiment from Lel. I find it hard to root for the petulant bratty type.
The setting here is kinda weird… we definitely get the vibe that we’re in the future, but the only thing that seems futuristic are the Hovers. Everything else appears to be “normal-ish”.
I find the use of lingo a bit weird for an introductory piece such as this. Referring to “The Dirt”… I mean, we might assume they’re meant to be something akin to a police force… hell, they might just be a different gang. I really couldn’t say. I’m never really one to request an “info dump”, but if this is supposed to convince me to drop $25 on a 160 page hardcover… you’re gonna have to give me something. Otherwise, what’s the point of even making an ashcan?
So… did this ashcan steer me toward shelling out the bucks for the hardback? Well… I dig the sorta-kinda Akira-ness, and I’m a sucker for rise and fall… and rise again stories (which I get the feeling this is going to be), but I can’t see myself paying full price for this. We really didn’t get enough to make this feel “must read”. That doesn’t mean it isn’t… it just means this ashcan didn’t really “move the needle” for me.
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