Best Of British: Enjoy Your Stay At The Victory Motel

by Richard Bruton

The Victory Motel is located on the main road over the moor. Just before the turning for the coastal town of Victory Point. These are the stories of those who happened to be there one Friday.

Owen D. Pomery is an architectural illustrator and comic artist. Or an architect who draws. Or a comic artist with an architect’s eye. Take your pick. All I know is that Owen D. Pomery is one of a band of UK comic makers who create their very own, very individual works. There’s a sense of introverted reflection in the storylines he writes, of isolation, of the analysis of the person within, their relationships with others and the wider world. It’s poetry of comics, and when it’s done well, as it is with Pomery’s work, it’s a wonderful thing to read. Don’t expect simple, don’t expect the road map laid out for you, but do expect an immersive, drifting, thought-provoking read.

The thing you’ll notice, first of all, is Pomery’s artwork, the vertical hatching his speciality. But on top of that, there’s that architectural eye, the buildings all look divine, but it extends to how Pomery constructs his pages, arranges his characters, constructs his narratives. But here, just in case you’ve seen his work before, there’s so much more, a variety in his stylings, all beautifully done.

In The Victory Motel, Pomery takes a snapshot of the moments of the varying residents of the motel, each story a few pages, each tale of a room. There’s number 6, ‘Everything Is Fine’, of a traveller facing yet another blank motel room. Although there’s the thing with just what he’s taking out his suitcase, a dripping thing. Hmmmm. make your own judgment on that one. But our resident is far more interested in why the hell he has a paper origami swan on his pillow where a mint would have been more appreciated. Next, number 8, ‘Arrangements’, two lovers, a regular, yet illicit thing, the language clipped, yet quietly funny at the same time…

“How was your day?”
“Does that matter?”
“not really. Does that matter?”
“Not really.”

The two salesmen in 3 & 4 in ‘Big Till’, one a total knob, the other just drifted into this crappy job, conning folks out of their homes for way too little cash. His escape is full on Hitchcock. Then there’s room 9, ‘Not Even’, with the glorious line that serves to tell the tale all it’s own…

“Do you remember the exact date we killed each other?”

Nope, it’s not what you think, not at all.

And finally, tying it all together, somewhat, is room 11, ‘I Am Here’, a student living and working at the motel, after her folks moved out of town. Again, there’s one of those glorious lines…

“An airlock between my former and future life”.

This is clever on the page, constructions as narrative, pieces to put together, the way people live lives in isolation, unknowingly connecting somewhere, somehow. It’s a thing in UK comics, the poetic end of the comics scale, and Pomery does it so very well.

The Victory Motel, by Owen D. Pomery, is available from Pomery’s website. His previous works include Between The Billboards (The story of one man and his withdrawal, mentally and physically, from the outside world – available from Avery Hill Publishing) and The Megatherium Club (a lovingly anarchic homage to an age when science and eccentricity went hand in hand).

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