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A Strange Day
posted March 1, 2005
Damond Hurd, Tatiana Gill
Alternative Comics, 48 pages, $3.95
1891867741 (ISBN), DEC042315 (Diamond)
This is a minor but intermittently charming romance comic that seems ill-served by its format. What would have been a perfectly serviceable third feature in a romance anthology -- and why the hell isn't someone doing a romance anthology? -- comes across by virtue of its attractive cover and stand-alone nature a kind of ordinary one-shot with a solid price point. The conceptual problems continue into the story itself, which despite kind of nailing the feel of an instant crush proves slightly dull through some really broad character work. One is a easily embarrassed tight ass, one is a hard to fluster free spirit; they both choose to wallow in a sad moment from their lives. Will they find each other? Of course. Will they connect? Never seriously in doubt.
That may be the point -- the characters observe that diners are interesting only to those who choose to spend time in it, and that may be true of teenage relationships -- but the result is a dull slog once you get past the initial stage of recognition. The lack of genuine surprises puts too much emphasis on holding the reader's interest through the skill displayed in what's being depicted, and neither Gill nor Hurd has mastered ther craft. Gill does show a nice understanding of her characters' respective physicality, and Hurd's dialogue work is laudibly unobtrusive. In the end, it's too nostalgic and detail light tto work as a first-person account and not cynical enough (or at all) to be a credible look back. I imagine a lot of people will like the work, but I can't imagine too many people having a heartfelt response to the work, which is a shame for their great choice of subject matter and obvious affection for it.
Postscript -- I think this book may use actual lyrics from The Cure, and I'd be interested to know if maybe they were changed or if you're allowed to use something like that to this extent without permission. I can't imagine anyone minds, but it kind of drove me out of the story.