Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Empire State: A Love Story (or Not)

When it comes to clothes and just about anything else I'm not a sales shopper.  I'll buy stuff on sale if it's something I need anyway, but I'm not hunting for sales or just going to sales to find stuff.  Except with comics.  Then I'll hit the sales just to see what looks interesting.

Which would be how I stumbled across this little gem.  A $5 trades and hard covers bin is a good place to find something good to read on the cheap.

I know nothing of author Jason Shiga, but his story of unrequited love, both near and far, is interesting and amusing.  It's a slice of life sort of story, albeit a fictional life.  Lead characters Jimmy and Sara have known each other a long time.  Jimmy has feelings for Sara but doesn't share until after she moves from Oakland to New York.  Jimmy ends up taking a bus ride across the country to see her, where she already has a boyfriend. 

It's a nicely told story with many small moments that make it feel like an actual life being observed.  The art is spare and effective.  It's a surprisingly quick read, too.  It's a fairly long book but Shiga uses a good deal of moments of silence and vistas to bring across the feelings of a moment.  That has the side effect of moving the reading along quickly, as does the use of non-expository dialog.  The conversations between the characters is clipped like a real conversation, not a speech.  The maxim "Show, don't tell" is well observed.

My only moment of confusion was that there are some shifts between past and present in the narration of the story.  Took me a little to realize the panels with red/pink background were past and the panels with blue background were present.

In the end, Jimmy is disappointed in his quest and flies back to Oakland.  No Hollywood ending, but a wonderful story of one man's unrequited dreams.

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