ONLINE GRAPHIC NOVEL! The LAST OPTIMIST is the strange story of a young suburbanite’s day trip to big city. In search of answers, excitement and ultimately himself, the lonely anti-hero investigates many of the wonders the downtown core has to offer. Subliminal subways, subversive super malls, cybernetic internet cafes and crowded streets all seem to offer an energetic enlightenment. However as each new experience unfolds the world turns monster. From murderous park people to nightmare night clubs there seems to be no end to the horrors of the concrete jungle. This book tells a tale of terror, growing up, growing bricks under your skin and the magnificent metropolis and all of it’s inescapable beauty.
This was the first full length comic book I ever made as was originally published in 2002. As with most of my work I didn't do any preliminary drawings or scripts for this adventure but just dove right in with an idea and a format in mind. I wanted to express my concerns regarding the metropolis and all the superficial commercial ideologies. Everywhere we look there is some advertisement or window display promising us salvation yet none of these things can ever truly satisfy the inherent shopping fiend within us all. At the same time as I felt like yelling at the city, I also mixed in a lot of humour and some sense attraction to the madness as well. In many ways I believe I am entangled in a true love hate relationship with the metropolis. There is nowhere else so exciting with so many people and ideas yet at the same there is no where else so ridiculously excessive and horrific so you win some you lose some.
Technically the book was really exciting as I approached the pages with a particular format. Almost the entire book was made up of double page spreads. Each of these splash pages is dedicated to a single event, idea or joke. For example there is a page about the commute, another about an art fair and one about the night club and so on. It was a great format to work with and challenged me to come up with succinct vignettes while constantly moving through the story. I also remember one of my teachers at the time telling me that it was impossible to publish a book with two page spreads which probably fuelled my passion for the experiment just to prove her wrong. In the end the book was reasonably easy to align and has sold over 3000 copies at various comic conventions over the years. I decided to show it as a video online graphic novel in order to make the best use of the full screen. It remains one of my favourite artworks and I continually meet people who have the book and always hear interesting stories about their experiences with and as the Last Optimist.