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Pawn Shop (Original Graphic Novel)

by mahargen on February 01, 2014

Writer - Joey Esposito

Art - Sean Von Gorman

Characters aren't always people.  They can be places, they can be things.  Pawn Shop presents a story in four intertwined chapters where the city of New York plays a pivotal role.  A labor of love from Joey Esposito and Sean Von Gorman, Pawn Shop comes to us via crowd source funding.

It's an idea brought to life by the goodwill of comic lovers.  

It's a beautiful thing.  

While it is an interesting direction, and certainly something outside of the norm for a majority of comic readers, the novelty of publication will always come in behind the strength of story in determining the worth of a book.

I'm happy to say Pawn Shop is a story I will gladly recommend to people to show them that there is life beyond superheroes.  This story plays out in a manner much more akin to a film that a comic.  It is reminiscent of a number of "anthology" films like Four Rooms or Love Actually.   Some might call it a cliche or a trope, I call it effective storytelling.  Beyond the city tying together the characters, the titular pawn shop brings a majority of the key players together without them ever knowing the details.  The heart strings are plucked in different manners and a number of different approaches to the story beats are employed.  We are reminded that love has many forms.  Love for your significant other.  Love for family.  Love for yourself.

A number of characters are presented throughout these 100 pages, but the story rarely gets bogged down.  It could be easy to become lost in the story of these characters against the backdrop of one of America's largest cities, but the simple character piece against the bustle of daily life is refreshing.  I'm a lifelong Chicagoan, and even I felt like I fell for the city a bit.  Seeing it through the eyes of the different characters was a great way to draw the reader in.  Sometimes New York was nurturing, calming.  In others it was tough and dangerous.  A city is many things to many different people, so the different aspects shown brought an interesting life to the story.

The art is something of an acquired taste.  It is rough, but the deeper you go into the book, the more at home it feels.  The color palette opens up New York and was an interesting choice.  The consistency of the art throughout the chapters was nice, but I would have liked some more subtle changes to differentiate the stories.  As opposed to chapters, I'd much rather have books.  It's a semantical argument, I know, but I prefer that concept.   Each individual story has its own conclusion, some are vague and open to interpretation, while others are more direct. .

The Verdict…

The package is well thought out and planned through, making the experience enjoyable.  Nonlinear storytelling is a risk, and in the case of Pawn Shop the good greatly outweighed any negative aspects.  Pick up this book and support indie creators.  This is Esposito's most ambitious work to date, and I'm anticipating great things.


Our Score:


A Look Inside