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Door Knocker (review)

Creator: Ben Juers

Glom Press, February 2021

Political pollsters, those people who call on the phone, stop people in the street, or knock on doors, must be amongst that category of the career-depressed that include patent attorneys and change management consultants. Those sorts of professionals wonder how it is that they fell into the pit, knowing that their efforts are almost certainly to no end. In the case of patent attorneys, the innovation will rarely ever be exploited; in the case of change management consultants, no change will come; and in the case of political pollsters, no one will change their mind as a consequence of your ostensibly illuminating questions.

The nameless lead character in this Australian independent title, Door Knocker, is a long-haired pollster who carries a satchel and a clipboard. At first we cautiously assumed the titular character was female, and this was confirmed in the extremely brief promotional copy set out on Glom Press’ website:

DOORKNOCKER is about a grassroots activist lost in the bush. Through a series of surreal encounters, her dedication is put to the test.

The door knocker is a typical volunteer in outlook, partially seized by her mission, and (because like the rest of us, she is only human) occasionally questioning herself why she chose to spend a day running about asking questions of people too busy or distracted to answer. Sitting on a rock looking into a pond while questions idly burble from her throat suggest the demeanour of a person desperately looking for inspiration, rather than a zealot.

The door knocker interrupts two lovers in a park, a frustrated ornithologist seeking a surreal bird, and an angry competitor door knocker from a rival political organisation with a very similar name. The door knocker gets a genuine buzz only twice: first, when recklessly steering a band neo-Nazis onto a dangerous cliff face by removing a warning sign (triggering some open air, adrenaline-fuelled sex with her erstwhile rival door knocker), and second when after being caught in a bush fire, she finds an actual door. It is a fun meander.

The story is amusing, but it is the art which is most startling. The art is very strongly influenced by the Bauhaus movement. Lyonel Feininger’s woodcuts (1921) seem to be a curious inspiration almost exactly a century later for an Australian comic featuring mocking political humour. Yet, it works. The pages are punctuated by jagged nature motifs, a common theme and style from early Bauhaus and its post-war expressionism. Some of the pages, especially the one below, could easily be mistaken as created by A.M. Cassandre. The colours pop through use of Risograph. It is eclectic, wonderful art.

This title is available from Glom Press’ website: Doorknocker by Ben Juers | Glom Press