Please Release (Top Shelf)

pleasereleaseheaderNate Powell brings punk rock, horror movies, and more into focus in this collection of deeply personal autobiographical tales where the trials of everyday life are the real story.




40 pgs. B&W; $5.00

(W/A: Nate Powell)


Nothing much really happens in Nate Powell’s Please Release, but it’s the same nothing that happens in so many Harvey Pekar stories – just trying to get through the day, with its existential hurdles, is the story. Working, living, breathing, drifting from high to high through those long, low valleys of confusion – that’s what Powell excels at conveying.


The cover to Nate Powell's It doesn’t get more prosaic or profound than when, in the first of these autobiographical vignettes, he pulls on a shirt in the morning and says "I’ve done this so many goddamn times." And how, brother. Samuel Beckett must be hiding between the panels.


Powell’s navel-gazing is about how he sees himself – guide to adults with developmental disabilities, touring punk rocker, cartoonist, long-distance boyfriend, etc. Each of us must play many roles in this lifetime, and questions of identity are only natural. Powell wants to self-actualize, and he just isn’t sure which path deserves his full and considerable passion.


In "The Old Haunts," he goes to a horror movie with friends to shake away his ennui. It works for a little while, but later that night, when he lies in bed preparing to surrender to sleep, the illusions fade, leaving nothing but the naked truth: the guy’s miserable.


Please Release is deeply intimate and personal. The art – sharp, evocative black-and-white stuff – is nice, too. Nate Powell’s angst may be eating him alive, but vicariously, anyway, his mind is a groovy place to be.

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