Monday, December 17, 2007

In Review Of: Local #2 by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly

Have been catching up on some reading recently, and realized that I've been spending a lot of time absorbing work and looking over the racks, trying to get a handle on the current zeitgeist in comics. Local #2 came my way via Sam at Blue Moon Comics after a spirited discussion about Paul Pope that ended in a sematic draw.

Local works in stand alone stories, so they're easy to review, easy to read and that makes them damn hard to draw and write. After all, lets face it, while there may be a bias against craft among certain elements in the comic book world, it takes real craft to make things look easy. (You want an example? try to write a good Beatles song. Maybe been done 10 times since 1970 total.) Kelly's art, echoing Pope, certainly works on its own merits without him being a total stylemonger, and has a nice feel for the negative and positive elements of the art. In a black and white book, that is absolutely key.

Local #2 is located in Minneapolis, Kelly's hometown, and he draws with a great feel for the locale obviously. Megan, obstensibly the book's protagonist (or at least re-occuring character), has an interesting flirtation with a guy who sneaks into her apartment and leaves her notes and polariods. And, no, she does not know him. From one odd little set up we get a tasty little slice of life story, one that rings true in the final panel when it ends. I won't spoil it for you if you decide to pick it up, but its a fun little read that, really, seems inevitable that it can only end the way that it does. That is, I tell you, a nice bit of writing, and, given the amount of silent sequences that need to convey the story, some nice drawing by Kelly.

While there have been more than a few discussions about what makes comics 'tick', one of them being the telling of stories that contain a mix of pictures and words unique to the graphic medium. This is one of those that verges on fitting that definition. The is a great degree of information and mood given in single horizontal panels that allow our eyes to linger across the cinemascope presentation before moving on. There are, really, three characters in the entire story, and as such, we're given a minimum of talking heads to present who these people are.
You could make a nice little art house vingette out of this issue.

Coming up, more issues of Local soon.

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