What would happen to the world if chickens suddenly started gaining sentience? This was what the comic Elmer was mostly about. Jake, a rooster with great need of anger management, has to go back home since his father Elmer was quite sick and expected to pass away soon.
Elmer finally passes away and Jake's mother hands over to Jake his father's diary. Once Jake starts reading the story of Elmer, the reader joins his journey in tracing the history of man's reaction to chicken's gaining sentience. Obviously, it was not something that men nor chicken easily accepted. I mean how else would you react to your dinner suddenly talking and some even attacking you? And in the midst of such a global issue, how did it affect individual lives of humans and chickens?
The theme of discrimination is nothing new. It has been an age-old tale that has been told over and over. What makes Elmer different, other than the fact that the tension is between human and chickens, is the beautiful story telling and line work of Gerry Alanguilan.
Alanguilan has made quite a name of himself in the international comic scene for his comics art. So it is no wonder that the art, especially the details, of the comics is impeccable. I could not helped but be awed by the painstaking effort he put in each feather, in each cloud, in each leaf on a tree.
The story was also able to infuse social issues with personal ones. The discrimination is not something that chickens experienced, Jake also has disdain against the human fiancee of his sister. His anger has bred tension in his home, yet it is also understandable because Jake somehow thinks that being a chicken has affected his own search for a job.
There are so many layers in the story, which theme can be considered simple but with an execution so unique. The menage a trois of the story, the storytelling and the artwork truly makes Elmer deserving of its Will Eisner nomination.