Let's Do This

Posted: Wednesday, November 29, 2006
By: Steve Saville

Cover of Let's Do This Creator(s): Jeremy Arambulo
Publishers: (Self Published)
From: USA
Price: $2(US)

Let’s Do This is a collection of 14 short semi autobiographical strips from Jeremy Arambulo. If you are a fan of Harvey Pekar [and who isn’t] then this is a comic you should get your bitter little hands on. It is very American Splendour in the way that the narrator uses the comic format to vent his not inconsiderable spleen.

The most successful strips on show here tend to be those linked by the common title The Brunswick Chronicles. These three strips [Dog Shit, Mice and Crime] set in Brunswick are in reality outbursts from an angry [or frightened] urban dweller who is struggling to come to terms with some of the negative aspects of city living, namely dog shit, rodents and crime. They work partly because they do capture that hyperbolic ‘out of proportion’ rage that is vintage Pekar and partly because they tend to be amongst the longer strips and therefore there is an element of development and depth lacking in some of the shorter pieces. My personal favourite is Mice, I found the obsessive attention to detail on the part of the character plus his lack of basic courage combined to create an annoyingly convincing character. Not exactly likeable but believable and convincing nonetheless, and for my part that is infinitely more important.

As I have said it is the longer pieces that tend to be the more effective. This includes the surprisingly positive Kathy Kim in Day Job. The basic situation is predictable enough and the ending very sugary sweet but it still works and possess an endearing ‘feel good’ charm. It stands out as a beacon of optimism in an otherwise bleak comic environment. The other overtly cheery point in the collection is when the gloomy narrator has a conversation with Cupid and the cherub successfully melts Mr Grumpy’s heart. Overall though the shorter responses tend to lack depth and as a result the anger that drives them is sometimes hard to sympathise with.

The art work perfectly compliments the mood of this collection especially the entirely average appearance of the narrator. I realise that this is probably an autobiographical representation and that I have more than likely just offended Jeremy but he does look like just another guy in the big city and this is a very effective, if ironical, portrayl.

The fact that he does have an anger problem often sparked off by trivial events , such as a guy in a queue talking on his cell phone, does set him apart from the masses, or does it? White, middle class and on the verge, sounds like a Michael Douglas movie.

So don’t get fooled by the smiling face on the cover inside lurks an individual who is angry and quite prepared to use his artistic skills to gain revenge on the aspects of an urban existence that have driven him to the point of distraction.

Urban angst is alive, well and seething in Brunswick.

In a Word: Pekarish.

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