Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Long Hot Summer

Written by Eric Stephenson
Art by Jamie McKelvie

I'm not sure that I can agree with the notion that a summer can be long - they seem increasingly fleeting, but this has definitely been a hot summer, so this seemed like an appropriate comic to read.  Stephenson and McKelvie put together this nice little twenty-something romantic comedy book back in 2005, while Stephenson was Executive Director at Image and McKelvie had not yet started working on Phonogram.

This is a quick, light read that is pretty enjoyable.  Steve is a pretty cool guy - he dresses well, and has a large group of friends who make up a 'scene'.  He's a Fred Perry-wearing indie rock twenty-two year old, who has a very strange relationship with his friend Ken.  Ken is a bit of a loser - he has no money or car, and constantly mooches off people, especially Steve, who always defends him to their other friends.  It's pretty clear from the beginning that, were it not for Steve sticking up for him, Ken would have no friends.

As the story starts, Ken has met Ashley, and they are maybe dating.  This all starts to change when Ashley meets, and falls for Steve, and the predictable begins to happen.  Friendships are tested, things are said, etc. etc.  The story may not be groundbreaking, but the enjoyment lies in the execution, and this is a very well-put together comic book.

Most of Stephenson's output before this book consisted of crappy 90s Image comics, and B- or C-list titles at Marvel, co-written with Erik Larsen.  It's nice to see that he can handle a more mature, well-balanced story.  McKelvie's involvement in this book makes it feel like a version of proto-Phonogram.  There are more than a few panels where Steve looks like David Kohl, the star of the first Phonogram story.  This, of course, is not a bad thing, as McKelvie is brilliant (read Suburban Glamour).

No comments: