Tear Stained Make-up #2

Posted: Tuesday, September 27, 2005
By: Steve Saville

Cover of Tear Stained Make-up #2 Creator(s): Marcos Perez
Publishers: Cliffface Comics (Self Published)
From: USA
Price: $2(US)

Well done Mr Perez. The bleak first chapter of this ongoing title was pretty harrowing but the first part of this the second chapter offers us a genuine contrast and in doing so adds a real depth and fullness to the story and the characters.

The first ten pages of Chapter Two are wordless and all the more effective because of that. We follow Tildy the librarian introduced late in Chapter One as she has a fleeting encounter with an accordion playing musician who is performing with his band on a subway train.

In ten pages we obseve Tildy being dragged out of her self- contained world of ipod and book and into an embryonic romantic situation. The blown kiss, the smile, the embarrassed eye contact, all are dealt with in a careful, sensitive and deliberate manner. Nothing about this initial attraction between two strangers is rushed. The building of a sexual chemistry between them is also managed with a considered care.

This slow development is important later in the chapter but for now Perez shows again that he can structure a good story by immediately contrasting this romantic interlude with a harsh and callous phone conversation.

That element of contrast is a key to the success of this title. In Chapter One we kicked off with a cruel and bitter end of a relationship played out in a very public manner. At the start of Chapter Two we have a sweet, romantic beginning of a new relationship also taking place in a very public arena. Finely balanced stuff and effective because of this.

I am not so sure about the second half of the comic though. The chance second meeting of the two prospective lovers in a deli is one thing. The fact that we are in New York and that the musician is a Basque and hey wouldn’t you know Tildy happens to be fluent in Basque is stretching things just a little too far.

All is redeemed in the final pages though where the emotional intensity and realism returns.
I like the fact that the main female character is a full bodied woman, I like the fact that she is emotionally a little frail, I like the fact that she is so real and feels love, guilt, remorse, joy in equal measure. We have in Tildy a well rounded [no pun intended] complex character.

Most of all though I like the crafting present in the storyline. This is an adult angst type of story, it is obvious that there are going to be a lot of tears before bedtime and it feels a little voyeuristic in places but what the heck I an beginning to feel that I really know these characters.

In a Word: Touching.

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