Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

Home > CR Reviews

Only the Lonely
posted October 19, 2004


Creators: Josh Frankel, Andy Terhune, Trevor Alixopulos, Thien Pham, Joe Sayers, Tom Neely, Jesse Reklaw and Fredo
Publishing Info: Josh Frankel, $3, 44 pages, 2004
Ordering Numbers: None

The mini-comic omnibus Only the Lonely takes its shots at so-called "Lonely Boy" comics, those heartbreaking paeans to love-me sensitivity that have gathered themselves into a slightly icky corner of alternative comic books. It's a rich enough tradition for a mini-comic's worth of spoofs, but probably not much more than that. This kind of satire has already been walked around for show in a more thorough manner in titles like Urban Hipster and the astonishing Be A Man. This effort ends in a book with a slightly tossed-off feel that provides a few diverting moments. It may be a comic to trade for rather than to seek out and buy.

There should be several approaches when it comes to commenting on material like the Lonely Boy books, but here we only get two -- investing in the rhythms and nuances of such stories with an eye on exploitation and exaggeration, or stepping back and urinating on the whole enterprise. Only the Lonely spends roughly the same amount of time with each approach. Josh Frankel's "Walk, Birds, Candy, You" makes a banal poem out of the superficial observations that fuel such stories, and is nicely blunt in its criticism of their vapidity. Trevor Alixopoulous' "Lonely Planet" displays the most sophisticated understanding of the self-absorbed, hateful monologue to be found in such works, and ends with a perfect, hopelessly tacked-on non-sequitur. I like the art in Andy Terhune's "Blue Hammer" and the approach to the page in Tom Neely's "Oh No! Leaves are Falling," but found each much more strained than necessary, exhibiting an almost visible flop sweat rather than a confident turn at the mike. The other comics in the piece range from the unremarkable to the rather stupid.

Creators (Frankel, Terhune, Alixopulos, Pham, Sayers, Neely, Reklaw, Fredo)