Sunday, January 06, 2008

In Review Of: Local #8 by Woods and Kelly

Been catching up on some of the comics that slipped a little under the radar, and I'm working my way through the issues of Local that my LCS has on hand. I know that I'm only getting part of the picture, but that is also part of the fun here as well.

Digression here: does anyone remember coming into a series in progress, in my case the 1970's Avengers and Defenders, and hearing the characters talk about past adventures and finding my imagination racing as I would think about those stories, stories that i haven't read and, back then, would likely never read since the back issue market was decidedly underdeveloped for 7 year olds. Invariably, when I did read them, much later in some cases, some of them were not nearly as good as I had imagined, but some were better than I had thought as well.

Brian Wood has his stories to consider, and here, after last issues digression into her family, we catch up with Megan working as a waitress, but more importantly, working on her relationships with men. Whether getting banged in the backroom of the restaurant, or in a rich man's apartment, she's learning that sex isn't actually the goal here. Love is. Its not a novel story, nor is it a novel ending, which makes it all that much harder to make the damn story work.

Wood and Kelly make the thing work because they're so damn sincere about it, and pull no punches when it comes to showing us Megan's search for love, sex and/or an interesting mixture of the two. Is this not what our 20's end up being? Sometimes a scary mix of relationships that we want to remember and bad decisions that we are more than happy to forget. Megan epitomizes just about everything that I can remember and wish to forget.

From getting screwed on a futon surrounded by empty beer bottles to every roommate that she's run out on, Megan is a mess, but she's a realistic mess. And in the final panels of the issue she makes choices, choices that are less about right and wrong and more about who she is. And isn't that what its all about?

I'd be remiss not to mention how much I enjoy the economy of story that Woods is using to give us single issue stories. Read the whole series and we get to see the macro story arc, but far more important is getting a great 22 page story in a single issue. Very few people are doing that, and it bears mentioning and supporting the beauty sometimes of that single short story. Well done.


Tim Perkins said...

Hi Charles,

Re: your comment about picking up the comic in midstream back when we were kids...

I couldn't agree with you more.

That was all part of the game with reading comics, back then, you may eventually find a copy of the comic and I agree sometimes they were better than imagined, but sometimes not as good, although I think the latter was less of a find usually.

In the case of the Jack Kirby classic "Fourth World" stories, the stuff being talked about for me like the concepts of Element-X, etc blew me away as a kid...what the ecch was "Element-X" and it was a good few years later that I would chance upon the Pact whereby Jack's story was written about the subject and it really gets a mention in one panel...great stuff!

Jack was so prolific that ideas where thrown into a panel, and were rarely seen again, so certainly to him the continued aspect, which couldn't be read outside of the whole series was never a goer.

For me stories need to be written in such a way as to be read inside of or outside of the whole.

Sure comics readers nowadays tend to be older, but then that's just it isn't it? Very few comics are being written for or aimed at kids any more and that's sad, as the old stuff was written for both.

I feel strongly that there is a place for all kinds of stuff out there nowadays, such as the obviously adult oriented comic you cite here in this Blog, but if we continue to write things without kids in mind the market can only continue to shrink.

By having stuff directed so that kids can take a look as well, I don't mean this dumbing down we see nowadays, especially here in the UK, but stories where it doesn't matter if you get the missing when we kids...our imaginations fill in the missing bits...and like you say oft times far more effectively...

Nowadays like most things in any media we are seeing a standardised way of the production of storytelling in comic books. A recent set of emails between some other comics creators and myself looked at the standardised writing in many comics nowadays, which leads to a decompressed style of storytelling in many of today's books.

This all to fit in the graphic novel format. Why does everything have to be standardised and follow a strict formula with a set of parameters so restrictive that it simply MUST be written in this way, so that it fits into a standard sized comic book? Shouldn't the story tell itself. Why does a book have to start with its first issue on such a slow beginning, because they all have to...?! Come on guys, surely the book can start fast and we can have a few flashbacks or some such.

I want to see more stuff written out of formula and given the space it requires and like in your Blog that can be a single story that in the bigger picture could be at the beginning middle or end of a TPB Hard cover collection of a series.

Now see what you did...

BTW: HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and your family.

Best Wishes as always, from across the pond,

Kid Sis said...

Jews with swords is going to be the name of my first porno.