Shawn Daley’s The Bridgebuilder’s Creed isn’t really about bridges.
Okay, that’s not really true. There are a lot of bridges in the book, and a lot of bridges get, well, built. So, it’s somewhat about bridges. But on a thematic level, the bridges are just things.
What The Bridgebuilder’s Creed is about is, if anything, is aging. It’s about finding that you live in a world that doesn’t need you anymore, that maybe doesn’t even want you anymore. It’s about finding that the world has moved on from what you dedicated your life to, and that maybe, through no fault of your own, it’s better that way.
Bridgebuilder’s Creed follows the life of a man named Yodel, a member of an organization called the Bridgebuilders. He and his band travelled across a vaguely defined fantasy world, doing just what the name implies: Building bridges. They’re the heart of the vaguely defined fantastical world’s economy, and just the lives of everyday, normal people.
And then there’s a war. Yodel is the last surviving member of the organization after a war devastates the vague fantastical world. Setting up in a small town, he finds that he’s been rendered obsolete by new, more efficient bridgebuilders, and sets out to find out who he, an old, lost man, can be.
Just from the premise, it’s an intriguing start. Thematically deep, with solid characterization, and a world that feels lived in and real, Bridgebuilder’s Creed is a comic that makes you think and feel just as the characters do. And, hey, a hundred and eighty pages for under five dollars is a pretty good deal, too.
My one hesitation here is the art. Most of it is pretty great. It’s a got a distinctive sense of character, and I couldn’t imagine the world without the almost caricature-like sense of artistry built in. I don’t mind the black and white, either – that’s clearly an artistic choice.
My hesitation comes from the flashbacks. When we venture into Yodel’s past, we see the art lapse into this sort of almost manga-inspired, sketchbook style. And, with the utmost respect to Daley’s otherwise great book, it’s honestly ugly. It pulls you out of the story, and it does that very, very quickly. It’s an unfortunate black spot on an otherwise great book.
But that’s a minor complaint. Shawn Daley’s OGN is a wonderful little introspection on the nature of aging and obsolescence.
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