Suburban Folklore #3

Posted: Tuesday, July 13, 2004
By: Darren Schroeder

Cover of Suburban Folklore #3 Creator(s): Steven Walters
From: USA
Price: $2(US)

Four vignettes of life in the suburbs of an American city. There's a mix of enthnicities and socio-economic backgrounds on display, with all the characters displaying real, messy, confused emotions and problems that don't go away just cause they make a wish.

It's surprising how effectively Steven can use just a few words of broken conversation to construct real moments of tenderness, love and sadness. He doesn't tell us what to feel, he just makes us feel it. The stories go straight to the heart of the matter at hand, putting readers firmly into the moment and the lives of the characters.

The people whose lives Steven creates are all slightly off kilter - Ashley needs some money so goes to an old friend to try and get some work dealing drugs. This could have been an opportunity for some gratuitous violence or cliched druggy fun, but Steve handles it matter-of-factly. It is part of the characters' world, as natural a upsizing a meal deal or filling the car. Ashley's friend talks 'street', but it isn't cartoonish - his reaction to Ashley's request is shocking in its simple humanity and straightforwardness.

There are some interesting subtle effects in the visuals this issue, with Steven experimenting with visuals such as a dissolve to finish a story. It works wonderfully as a way to emphasise the futility of the characters situation while also showing how isolated she feels at that moment. I've never seen it done before, and would have said it wouldn't work. Steven carries it off.

As with earlier issues Steven shows he is on top of the game comics wise, telling his own stories from a unique point of view. The characters come to life through clear and inventive art coupled with careful writing. Do yourself a favour: get this book as soon as possible.

In a Word: Wow.

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