Published on September 23rd, 2015 | by JCDoyle0
The Shrinking Man #3 Review
There’s only one thing to do when you are shrinking at a rate of 1/7 inch per day, and that’s visit the local fun fare and hook up with the smallest woman in the country.
In the penultimate issue of The Shrinking Man the reader is taken through the fall and rise of Scott Carey as he reaches his lowest point mentally before rediscovering some hope, or at least acceptance of the end.
After quickly dispatching last month’s cliff-hanger (he runs away and hides) Scott takes a trip to the Doctors where a number of pages are given over to the Doctor’s analysis and presupposition. While the artwork for this section is an emotional representation of Scott as his world slips away from him, narratively speaking the entire section tells the reader nothing they didn’t already know. The panels of Scott’s head and shoulders pushed to the bottom of the image with so much grey wall paper behind him tells you everything you need to know about his situation and his mind set. It’s a weight on his shoulders that is crushing him mentally and he is slowly disappearing from the picture, in artistic and narrative terms. It’s just a shame that the entire doctors speech is left in here to take up 3 whole pages, which when read feels like half the comic.
The carnival sequence adds a new element to the story, that of rich, vibrant colour. So much of Scott’s world has been drab and dreary, especially as half of the story has taken place in the murky cellar. This addition of bright lights and colour to the comic helps the reader to understand better Scott’s need to be somewhere else, somewhere where he has a chance of fitting in. I think it’s very fitting for a commentary on American Masculinity to show that the only way that the ‘man’ can regain his masculinity, after the brutal humiliation by the boys at the start of the story, is to have sex. For obvious reasons he can’t regain this prowess with his wife so he turns to Mrs Tom Thumb. Clarice accepts his advances just a little too quickly for my liking but I suppose there isn’t much time left for the central character so a long love affair story line has to be condensed somehow.
After one night of ‘passion’ and the quickest book publication ever Scott is finally back on top, full of life and ready to face his final days with his wife, it’s amazing what a bit of nookie can do. This is of course the point, Matheson was illustrating what fuels the American Man; self-worth is fuelled by Man’s ability to be in control and his masculinity, his superiority, is proven when he gets what he wants, in this case sex.
Mark Torres is doing a wonderful job with his art in this series. The design of each page continues to reflect the main character’s constant shrinking and there isn’t a page that goes by that doesn’t contain some form of scale reference. The panels themselves are mostly long and thin giving the reader a feeling of height even in the most mundane of places, like a doctor’s surgery.
In this issue a lengthy script is compensated for by clever and expressive art work. As with previous issues there is a cliff hanger ending to bring you back next month but other than that this issue is a self-contained tale of depression and lust that knocks a man down and builds him back up. Although, if this wasn’t obviously satirical, you’d find yourself quickly pitying the lead man’s lack of true character and wishing him to shrink away faster than he is already doing.
Title: Richard Matheson: The Shrinking Man
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Adaption: Ted Adams
Artist: Mark Torres