Interview with Olly
Review by Josh
Addiction is ever present, anyone is susceptible to it and it’s highly likely that you’re addicted to something even without fully realizing it. This addiction could be something as seemingly innocuous as working out or as debilitating as methamphetamine. Alcohol, cigarettes, sex, gaming, comic books, the list goes on and on and in today’s society the list continues to grow. As we’ve said numerous times on our podcast, you can literally make a comic book about anything, and it’s not uncommon to see a comic based around drugs. But Black Lines Comics has produced a comic called Dodgy Pills by Olly Cunningham, and it takes the themes of drugs and social deprivation and makes them gross.
I’m not saying that the comic is gross as a negative aspect, I’m saying it’s gross as a compliment. The disgusting nature of the images enhances the point of the comic, that drug addiction leads to the ultimate destruction of life, sometimes literally, sometimes mentally, and sometimes socially.
The plot of Dodgy Pills is very straight forward. There are a series of characters in a small town, everyone knows each other, and a number of them have gotten their hands on a new kind of pill. But as these characters try the new drug, they discover the horrors of their own depraved lives. One father gets a flashback to the abuses he inflicted upon his daughter, the scene culminates in his sexual violation by a hallucinogenic snake. There’s a young man, who after having taken the pill, is reminded of having murdered an elderly woman. Reminded by a disgusting bug bursting through the skull of the corner store attendant. It’s a very graphic look into the very real destructive nature of narcotics.
It’s hard not to admire the beauty of black and white comics. The bare bones nature of the art form is gracious in its simplicity. And Dodgy Pills works so well as a black and white comic book. Cunningham doesn’t need color to express the depravity of the story he’s trying to tell. The snake taking vengeance on Ashanti’s dad doesn’t need to be the color of puke green to make the reader uncomfortable, Tommo’s bug doesn’t need to be a sickly brown for the reader to want to escape the situation. There need to be more black and white comic books.
Now, being an American reading this Irishman’s comic my gut reaction was something along the lines of “Oh how terrible it must be over there.” But then I remember, drugs can destroy all lives, disregarding borders and societal norms. And being a lover of language, vocabulary, and syntax this comic really brought out some of my giddiness, I love the way the people of the British and Irish countries speak and how varied the slang is across an area of land so much smaller than my own country. The cursing, the inner monologues, the way people address one another. It’s entirely colloquial and it’s absolutely fascinating.
If any of what you’ve seen or what you’ve read has intrigued you, I encourage you to visit Black Lines Comics. You can also snag the Dodgy Pills on Amazon. In closing I can honestly say, I am fascinated by Mr. Cunningham’s story and will be trying to snag an interview with him in the near future.