Writer: Greg Lockard
Artist: Anna David
WHAT IS IT?
A dreamy Western story about wrestling your demons.
Think The Longest Ride meets a lighter Black Swan.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Jimmy Thomas is the star of the Electric Rodeo and a prolific partier. Packed crowds call for his horseback escapades every night and he delights in their admiration. Despite Jimmy’s erratic behavior, the Rodeo makes it to their final performance and all their star has to do is keep it together. However, that proves too much for Jimmy who falls off his horse mid-stunt. The doctor tells him to avoid riding until he’s better, but taking it easy isn’t Jimmy’s style. On top of that, the rodeo star’s mother called. His father is in the hospital and he should visit as soon as he can. But to do that, Jimmy has to stop running away from his troubled past.
Lockard tells a deceptively simple story. He manages to weave a lot of meaning out of Jimmy’s straightforward journey home.
Similarly, David takes a minimalist approach to line art. Her loose lines and sparse textures allow the emotion of each scene to take charge and for the reader to focus on the main character.
Her coloring is frankly impressive. Masterfully, she uses creative lighting choices and a plethora of different techniques to create contrast that spans the full emotional gauntlet. It’s largely thanks to the coloring that the book has a dreamlike feel.
Gattoni’s balloons mesh perfectly with the art. The wavy, hand-drawn look ties off each panel with a gorgeous bow. Notably, one section has balloons that mimic the rainbow-like colors of oil-filled water and are gorgeous.
The amount of dialogue is nicely balanced. Most conversations are succinct yet poetic at times and the art does most of the work.
The layouts during scenes with lots of action are excellently designed. David opts for tilted and uneven panels during these moments which speed up the pace of the story well.
Flashbacks are used heavily, but they weave in and out of the narrative smoothly, never pressing the brakes on the story.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK
Content Warning: This story contains some suggestive sexual scenes and suggestions of alcoholism if a reader is sensitive to those topics.
The art doesn’t feature a ton of variety in line weight. While the perspectives weren’t unclear, some details were lost.
The coloring, while mostly stunning, was a bit dark at times making it difficult to see everything. Brightening the characters or a few details would have helped with contrast in these instances.
There are a few awkward jumps in time between panels. It felt like a lot of actions were skipped in these instances and might have been better put on page turns.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Trick Pony feels like it was constructed as one long-form comic which is incredibly refreshing. It avoids the standard breaks every 20 or so pages making reading a fluid experience. With a story featuring regular flashbacks and surrealist dream sequences, this was essential and the creators nailed it. The story and art don’t demand too much from the ready in the best way. It was incredibly easy to fall into Jimmy Thomas’ boots and feel like I too was experiencing a tense reconciliation with a troubled past. Lockard crafted a character that is very flawed but incredibly relatable, especially for queer readers who also may have complicated familial relationships.
Newcomer Anna David was the perfect match for this story. Her delicate, wavy linework and minimalist background details allowed the coloring to do the heavy lifting and made every scene an absolute feast. Her color choices ensured that the lighting exhumed every bit of emotional depth from scene to scene. Combine this with Gattoni’s thoughtful balloon design and simple, but quite effective sound effects, and what results is a stellar book.
Trick Pony is perfect for fans of highly emotional, character-driven comics.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Liebestrasse by Greg Lockard & Tim Fish
Bird Talk by Greg Lockard & Miriampersand
Pulp by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips
If you like the art:
In The Flood by Ray Fawkes & Lee Loughridge
I Hate Fairyland by Skottie Young
The Many Deaths of Laila Starr by Ram V & Filipe Andrade
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Greg Lockard (@GregLockard) – Writer
Lockard’s comics have been published by DC, Dark Horse, and Comixology along with a plethora of indie releases.
His historical fiction graphic novel, Liebestrasse, was a GLAAD Media Award nominee for “Outstanding Comic Book” in 2020.
Lockard is an accomplished editor, having worked for Vertigo and now freelancing for comics greats like Jeff Lemire and James Tynion IV.
Anna David - Artist
David is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art.
She is interested in science, especially nature, and prehistory, and likes long walks in the woods with her dog.
Lucas Gattoni (@LetteringBear) – Letterer
Comfortable working in the indie and professionally published sphere, Gattoni has lettered many books including ones published by DC, Dark Horse, IDW, Comixology, Scout Comics, and A Wave Blue World.
He was been a part of multiple GLAAD Media Award-nominated books including Boys In Love which won “Oustanding Original Graphic Novel/Anthology” in 2023.
Gattoni is a native Spanish speaker and adept at lettering in that language as well as English.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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