Bill Sienkiewicz 1990: Big Numbers #1
Big Numbers was to be an ambitious 12-part graphic novel by two of the biggest and revolutionary comic book masters at the top of their games.
It left the world of full-color spectacular fantasy superheroes behind and focused instead on grayscale renderings of a set of everyday lives thrown into chaos when an American-financed super-mall is constructed in their struggling English town.
Originally titled the The Mandelbrot Set, mathematic chaos theory factored heavily into the themes Moore was exploring. The story is expertly multi-faceted, as are the diverse, richly-layered characters that populate the town.
For a story that is built on a progressive development to be unfinished is tragic. That the project itself was thrown into chaos is tragically poetic.
Although Sienkiewicz’s art is largely denied the benefit of color, it is some of the most incredible of his career. He blends his signature expressionism with a level of realism never before seen in his work, and the juxtaposition is all the more powerful because of it. Befitting the mathematical theme of the story, the perfectly square pages are uniformly set on a repeating 4 × 4 grid with perfectly circular word balloons.
It was brilliant. It was revolutionary. And it was not to last…