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Heck Hardcover – July 2, 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

When erstwhile high-school football hero Heck Hammarskjöld comes home for his father’s funeral, he reencounters former classmate Amy, whom he’d like to get to know again, while his old team’s water boy, Elliot, swarms all over him with renascent hero worship. But alluring Amy is married, annoying Elliot is persistent, and so when Heck takes over the creepy old house in which he grew up, the latter comes in handy with the cleanup job that uncovers a gate to hell on the premises. Five years later, newly widowed Amy becomes an early client of Heck’s new business of taking messages to hell and back. Cannon really runs with this setup, telling a morality tale within the trappings of a harrowing adventure that tests all three principals—Heck and, reduced by injuries during an infernal exploratory expedition to a mummy-like drone, Elliot down below and Amy up above. Cannon adopts Dante’s moral architecture pretty thoroughly, just simplifying it—not watering it down—for the purposes of his slighter conception. Sturdily drawn, a helluva good (i.e., virtuous) comics caper. --Ray Olson
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Product Details

  • Series: Heck
  • Hardcover: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Top Shelf Productions (July 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160309301X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603093019
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #888,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What would you do if you inherited a home and discovered that, in the basement, there is a literal pathway to Hell? And that, further, you can walk that pathway and descend to the Hell of Dante, traverse through its circles and levels and then get back out?

In HECK, the person to whom that happens decides to set up a business, taking messages to and bringing back messages from the dead and damned.

While it's an enjoyable premise, I thought Zander Cannon (artist and writer) might have been a bit blunt with the story, hitting us repeatedly over the head that the main character was in need of redemption and showcasing the ways in which he could gain it. A bit slow at times, but Cannon filled the passing time with a lovely set of drawings, so that helps out.

If you're looking for time to kill and want to see a dedicated professional turning out above-workman like work, you could do worse than HECK.

Look, I know it's not a great recommendation. What can I say? I didn't love it so couldn't give it five stars. I think it's a nice example of professional craft, so I can't give it three stars just because I didn't enjoy it. So four stars it is, and, thus, the review.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Heck is a very creative and well-told yet spare epic that despite its fantastic setting uses an emphasis on character to make its impact - as well as some first-rate command of black-and-white composition and sequential art. The story focuses on Hector Hammarskjold, a former high-school football star grappling with an adult life focused on his past glory, whose father's death leads to a turn of events in which he becomes a kind of private detective who literally travels to hell and back for his clients. Without giving away too much, a new client soon forces Heck to confront his own failings and try to avoid the fate of those he has been seeing around him. While reading it, I was both impressed by Cannon's skill in storytelling and puzzled by the simpler style in which he was drawing - less polished than in past works. At the end, an afterword explains that this was by design, as part of an experiment to work more quickly, the effect of which is to pare the story down to the essentials. Good art and sequential storytelling does not require elaborate illustrations, and Cannon makes this apparent through strong characters and a clear narrative. The setting does grow increasingly fantastic and the imagery is just enough to show this, but it is in his command of the comics medium that he makes Heck effective for the reader. Subtle changes in light and dark, composition, and panel size slow down and speed up the narrative. As the story reached its climax, I found myself turning the pages faster and faster, eager to see what would come next. Heck is not Cannon's best work as an illustrator (by design), but may be some of his best as a storyteller, which in the world of graphic novels is ultimately what is important.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I unfortunately had to wait over a year to read the whole story, but Zander Cannon really delivered on his premise. A powerfully told story, masterfully illustrated. What really got me about the illustrations was the economy of line - it really accentuated how well composed each panel was. This graphic novel was an Eisner nominee and deservedly so. I am tempted to suggest that you buy the single issues of Double Barrel instead of/in addition to the book so you can read Crater XV and all the wonderful supplemental material like the How To articles and Tales of Jin.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's interesting that this is created from old characters (who were rendered in regular comic style). The story is actually quite interesting, following in the footsteps of Dante's Inferno. My only beef is that the avant garde crudely rendered black and white art tended to be a little distracting. But after getting about half way through, that no longer seemed to be an issue in my mind because though the rendering is very loose, the actual visual storytelling is excellent. This is a classic hero's quest.

Definitely worth purchasing.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's no spoiler to say that the characters created by Zander Cannon develop from paper thin to emotionally complex by the end of the story. That's the best aspect of the journey depicted here, and the layers of hell, as the main character says, are really just in your head. Heck works as a square-jawed shaman of sorts, but he's the one who gets the most healing in the end.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm not a graphic novel reader typically, but I came across this title and I instantly got sucked into Heck's story. I don't know if there will be more stories about Heck and Elliot and their trips to Hell, but I see the potential for more and I would read them in a heartbeat. Quick read, the story flows well, and the art is a style I prefer being a fan of heavy outlines. Definitely worth checking out.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
IMPRESSIVE. We travel through Hell with Heck, part Dante - part Indiana Jones, as he seeks to commune with the dead on behalf of his clients. While seeking to uncover the secrets of those in Hell, he learns about love, loyalty and friendship. It's a one-of-a-kind graphic novel find. Well done, Mr. Cannon.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
From my blog (which says a bit more and provides images):

http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.kr/2014/03/helluva-good-story.html

Just a few days ago, I bought the graphic story Heck, by Zander Cannon, expecting from the blurbs that it would be some sort of adventure story about a descent into Hell, and it is that, but it's also so much more!

The story is -- one might say -- a postmodern retelling of Dante's Inferno, and it's actually an ethically profound story, something that I hadn't anticipated!

The story affirms the virtues of loyalty to friends and courage to protect them, as well as the importance of rejecting various vices that Dante once warned about, but it also shows the difficulty of refraining from succumbing to temptation, due to the power of desire and the weakness of the will.

At the same time, Heck is a helluva good story!
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