Sunday, July 17, 2005

This Comic Is Good - Flytrap: Juggling Act

Flytrap - "Juggling Act" is a mini-comic by Steve Leiber (art) and Sara Ryan (story) about a woman who becomes the manager of a travelling circus (called the Flytrap Circus, natch).

This mini-comic details how Maddy becomes the manager (future mini-comics will detail her misadventures with the group).

It is quite good.

Steve Leiber, as you may or may not know, is a very good artist. Therefore, the art on this issue was very good.

Leiber's style is realistic, but he has an extra characteristic to his style that I absolutely love, and that is the way he is realistic without becoming shackled to the concept of comic book realism.

Trying to draw super realistically often makes the comic look like it is a pastiche of photographs, and that robs the comic of fluidity and verve.

Leiber avoids this by making sure that while his characters are realistic, they are still very much comic book characters.

Take the cover of this mini-comic, and its drawing of the book's protagonist, Maddy...

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Realistic look with a realistic pose and expression, but it is evident that she is a drawing.

Leiber is a fine artist.

Of course, all that tells us, though, is that the book LOOKED nice.

What of the story?

Well, Sara Ryan comes through quite nicely I thought. It's a difficult challenge. 16 pages to tell a "complete" story while basically set up the entire series, and I think she pulled it off quite well.

Maddy works in publicity, and what do publicity people do most often?

They cover up other people's problems.

Well, what does Maddy do?

She covers up HER problems.

Her boyfriend is a deadbeat musician who she is letting suck her dry and she is falling apart at work, but she always manages to find a way to portray it as "not a problem."

There is a good scene where she tries to convince a tow truck not to tow her car (which is being towed because of her boyfriend's unpaid tickets)...the whole panel is filled with her quick-witted (but fruitless) attempts at convincing the driver to NOT tow her car. Nice stuff.

The best scene in the book, though, to me, was the awesome bit where Maddy spills her beans about her day to her boyfriend (who she meets on his way to his gig) and the whole complain-fest ends with basically HER apologizing to HIM.

The scene becomes so beautiful then when Maddy gets home to see that her boyfriend has dumped her....what a great choice by Ryan. I love when writers do things like that...interject scenes that only become truly interesting in retrospect, and when they do, they become REALLY interesting, like this scene of Maddy's boyfriend listening to her spill her guts while KNOWING that he just left her!


Anyhoo, I've spoiled enough of the book, so I will leave the ending for you folks, to see how Maddy gets from Point A to Point B. It is quite satisfying, I thought.

Flytrap was good - I look forward to the next installment.

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