I’m not quite sure that I caught everything that this comic had to offer. There’s a lot left to the reader to decide what it all means. I like when a story can be read and interrupted by people in different ways. I’ll give you my interruption, but by no means am I saying that it’s right or the same thing you’ll get out of Harri and Some Change. The story itself is pretty short and simple. The artwork does the bulk of the work and so I’m going to actually start with it. Matt Huynh has a fantastic style and uses brushes and ink work to tell the story in a double page spread all throughout the book. The thing about Huynh’s style that stood out to me is that it’s screams animation. I could see the figures moving as they sat upon benches or walked out of panels. While Harri is the main character and the focus of our attention Huynh does an incredible job of making everything else on the page just as detailed and life-like.
The gorgeous thing about this book is how much of everyday life it captures. Trash on the street. Flowers in the park. Things that most comic books never do or take for granted. It makes this world very real and again animated. I read the book twice on the same day just to experience it again. That’s powerful and a lot of that comes from the artwork alone.
We meet Harri on the subway which is drawn in such a way that it intentionally looks like it’s moving. From there she exits the subway and heads to a drug store in which she’s asked for spare change from a persistent bum. She gives him some money, but in doing so no longer has money to buy the card she came there for. She steals the greeting card and casually leaves the store nearly being caught in the process. She sits down to write in the card and can’t figure out what to say. It’s clear that she’s sending this to someone that’s very important to her that she wants to reconnect with, but the words aren’t coming to her. Eventually she heads to a party and even practices writing on her arm for the card. Suddenly she sees her coat trying to leave with the card inside and she chases it down not wanting to lose the card. After a battle with the jacket and possibly herself, she pulls out the card and reads the pre-printed words and laughs. She signs her name and calls it good on the card.
This story is raw and while there isn’t a traditional narrative with acts 1,2 and 3; it is quite powerful and interesting. My interruption of the ending is that only when she stopped trying to find the words could she see the correct ones. The thing is I think there’s plenty of other things in the story to interrupt which again makes the book very interesting to read because you can analyze different aspects of the story in the middle of reading it.
I would love to read more of Harri’s adventures. She’s an interesting character that I know nothing about, but I’m beyond interested. Huynh has grabbed my attention as a creator and I look forward to seeing more abstract slices of life-like this in the future. It’s a pure comic book and artistic experience that I’ve found is rarer and rarer in the comic medium, making this a breath of fresh air.