Alternative: Grand Junction

Posted: Wednesday, September 5, 2001
By: Darren Schroeder

Cover of Alternative: Grand Junction Writer(s): Carrie Golus
Artist(s): guest artist Patrick Welsh
Publishers: Self Published (with the aid of the Xeric Foundation)
From: USA
Price: $3:00 (US, postpaid)

This comic comes in an attractive colour cover and contains eight thoughtful stories that focus on people who have to examine where they are in life. In the first story the narrator describes how they hate where they live, and Carrie undercuts the dismal description with a series of sketches showing beautifully desolate vistas of hills, cliffs and lake side cabins. It all looks so calm and tranquil, but definitely not boring.

Next is Beach Head, Illinois which records the thoughts of an office worker who finds herself sitting in the park watching the teenagers skate and wondering when she lost that spontaneity and sense of fun. Following this, Carrie presents two monologues of people on the phone telling friends about their weird roommates. The hook here is that they are describing each other.

Other stories involve a woman meeting up with her partner after a long time apart and the uncertainty she feels about the relationship, she sees his bad points, but is happy to see him again. Patrick Welsh's solo contribution is a wonderfully drawn tale of birdseed and obsession that is kind of spooky. He also illustrates a couple of stories for Carries; a whimsical tale of Halloween high jinks and a series of interviews with people about their hopes and feelings about careers and such.

The stories in this book all have a sense of melancholy that can't fail but grab the readers attention. The people Carrie creates ring true in their fears and regrets. In the graphic side of things Patrick's style means his work looks better drawn, but Carrie's simple style does what it needs to get the story across in interesting ways. Beach Head: Illinois in particular works well, with the basic line drawings capturing the energy of the teenagers skating and swimming. In all a moving collection which I'll be passing around my friends, though not if they are are in a What-an-I-doing-with-my-life kind of mood.

In a Word: reflective.

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