Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Too Cool to be Forgotten

by Alex Robinson

Andy Wicks goes to a hypnotist as a last-ditch effort to quick smoking, and finds himself transported back into his fifteen-year old body, before he developed the habit in the first place. The concept doesn't make sense, and isn't explained in the least, but it becomes the gateway through which Robinson is able to tell a funny and touching story about youth, getting old, and the wonder of 1985.

Robinson has a knack for writing young characters - from the speech patterns to the irrationality, the self-centredness, and the moral clarity that they feel. His high school world is one of triumph and humiliation, all acted out in a very public theatre. It's interesting to watch Old Andy experience again the things he experienced as Young Andy, but from the perspective of someone who knows where it's all going. I especially liked Andy's reflections on his teacher and principal, as he realizes that they are about the age he is now.

The book is very well-designed. I love the cover, and the format of a small hardcovered graphic novel. It fits nicely in the hand, and begs to be read. Top Shelf are really starting to impress me as a publisher - it's only been in the last year that I've become interested in their output, but if they keep putting out work like this, I'll be buying a lot more from them.

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