Thursday, May 31, 2012

Motel Art Improvement Service

by Jason Little

Here's another example of an impulse purchase I made that I ended up being very happy with.  Motel Art Improvement Service is a collection of Jason Little's webcomic, and is a sequel of sorts to his Shutterbug Follies, which I've never read.

This book features Bee an eighteen year old who plans to spend her summer biking from New York to San Francisco.  She doesn't make it far before her bike is destroyed in an accident, and she finds herself holed up in a crappy motel trying to figure out what her next step should be.  At the motel, she meets Cyrus, an oddball outsider artist who enjoys 'improving' the crappy art that hangs in crappy motels by adding in whimsical or satirical touches while working at them as a housekeeper. 

The two hit the road together, and begin working at a large hotel near Newark Airport.  Bee discovers that Cyrus isn't just an artist, he's also a bit of a pill freak, and he constantly refreshes his supply by tossing the rooms he's supposed to be cleaning.  This leads to some problems when he interferes with a drug deal between a couple of young college kids and an angry over-sized meth head.

This comic is a quick and engaging read.  Bee is a fully realized character, although she is really the only one.  The plot moves along quickly, almost like a modern-day slapstick comedy in places (like when everyone chases each other around the central atrium of the hotel in Newark).  Little is able to slow down the pace in a number of places to share scenes of Bee's first time, and other character moments.

Reading this has left me wanting to get a copy of Shutterbug Follies, and that's the best praise an artist can ask for, right?

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