by Alex Robinson
the premise: Robinson follows the lives of a cast of young people in this 600 page graphic novel, featuring relationship drama, satire, comics, and a few life lessons mixed with offbeat humor.
the lowdown: 600 pages really sounds like a lot. It took me several months after purchasing this one to sit down and read it. Once you start, though, you won't stop. This book has been described online as "compulsively readable", and while that sounds like complimenting food by calling it "edible", it's apropos. Robinson draws you into the lives of these people, weaving together lots of often-unrelated stories. It's a pretty authentic look at 20-something life, mixed in with comics and some social commentary.
Robinson's real strength isn't the satire, though - it's his character work. It's telling that every sympathetic character in the book is shown to have bad traits, while most of the unsympathetic ones have redeeming qualities. The book starts with many of the key characters introducing themselves, one by saying she's "not the bad guy". And though it's easy to piss on that character later, she's really *not* the bad guy, just a flawed person. But then again, aren't we all? Real life is rarely as cut-and-dried as most characterization in fiction, and this book never forgets that.
In a way this is what a Kevin Smith movie would be if all his characters didn't talk with the same voice.
the verdict: I liked this a lot. It's diametrically opposed to your usual superhero book, but it's not a cheesy relationship book either. Recommended for anyone looking for a good slice of life dramedy.