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Slow sledgehammer


Ben Gijsemans

Over summer Aaron has to study for exam retakes, but he can’t manage to concentrate. He reads his superhero comics and looks through the window at the square outside, where a boy who lives nearby often plays football. In contrast to his comic book heroes, Aaron lacks a talent for witty one-liners, breath-taking courage and a woman in need of rescue. As the summer slowly passes, he is forced to confront something he would rather not face: he’s attracted to little boys.

Incredibly carefully thought-out, refined, perfectionistic and subtle, but also unbearable and heart-breaking

Ben Gijsemans’ drawings are meticulously detailed, and in their sometimes slow-motion narrative rhythm they perfectly portray Aaron’s struggle with his feelings. Although there is some intense conversation, nothing is said, which only further emphasizes Aaron’s loneliness. The superheroes he uses as an attempt to escape his worries provide some breathing space in the oppressive atmosphere. ‘Aaron’ is a beautiful but painful and subtle portrait of a young man who doesn’t want to know what he already knows, and the despair that results. A gem of a book.

Reminiscent of the great Chris Ware's work, in his ability to graphically express boredom, time that slowly passes, non-adventure and internal torment
Actua BD
High international level. Overwhelming