Heart

Blair Butler, Author, Kevin Mellon, Illustrator
Blair Butler and Kevin Mellon. Image (Diamond, dist.), $12.99 (120p) ISBN 978-1-60706-578-4
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It’s easy to look at a sport like MMA and find little with which to identify, either in terms of what happens in the octagon or what motivates someone to step into it. Heart makes the entire sport very easy to sympathize with. Butler, best known as a host on the G4 network, follows the story of Oren “Rooster” Redmond, who is looking for more than what his desk job affords him. With a brother already in the game, Oren trades in watching the sport for an opportunity of self-exploration to find out exactly what he’s made of—and what he discovers about himself makes for a story that is, at its heart, eminently human. This is not the standard montage to victory story of the sort that might make for a Hollywood film. Rather, it’s a story about real people, and about the idea that the pursuit of a dream is ultimately of greater value than its realization. In his illustrations, Mellon (Lovestruck, Gearhead) is appropriately understated and unassuming, but also brutal just when he needs to be. What happens in the octagon is, after all, anything but glamorous, especially for those who fight there. Together, Butler’s writing and Mellon’s illustrations take us on a journey into the day-to-day realities of a subculture that fans of the sport will enjoy while even nonexperts will enjoy a story that is filled with genuine emotion. (July)
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