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Yeah, It Is!
posted November 1, 2004
Leslie Anne Mackenzie Stein
Self-Published, $5.99, 48 Pages, 2004
The best thing about Leslie Anne Mackenzie Stein's debut Yeah, It Is!
is the general look of the piece, a way of presenting comics narrative as dependent on colored paper cut-outs as it is on traditional alt-comics cartoony abstractions. Stein's establishing shots have this really nice, layered quality that replicates the way the author's reasonably innocent lead looks at the world, a vast unknown that is broken down into smaller units for better understanding. As body shapes play a supporting role here, the technique allows Stein to concentrate on how clothing can hide, accentuate or even distort the form underneath it - the artist even manages to get a sense of see-through cloth around her skirts.
Yeah, It Is!
tells a relative simple story about coping, but the second best thing about this thin volume is what events the cartoonist chooses to explore and in what order. A girl nicknamed Mac loses her closest friend when the friend moves away. After a brief and funny interlude where Mac reaches out to a pair of girls with whom she has little in common, our hero haunts the places she and her friend liked where she mopes with abandon. The world surrounding Mac is largely unfamiliar but not particularly scary or threatening. Stein resists the temptation to make an overt judgment about her protagonist's experience, allowing the reader to pick up on her isolation and discover her coping mechanisms. The end brings with it almost imperceptible change, which feels appropriate.
This is a nice early effort, practically the definition of modest, tightly wound and contained in the way that thwarts any guess as to whether there's more to come or that the full force of the cartoonist's talent has been spent to tell this modest story. I would definitely pay attention to Stein's next few offerings for the hints of promise displayed here, yet not be shocked in the slightest if this is all there is.