|I discovered this comic only a few days ago (early hours of July 22) and fell in love with it. I think part of it is, it feels real. It's an honest, frank portrayal of a family that struggles, not with money, but with the world.
They are not a cohesive family unit. It feels as if the children are a separate unit from their mother, rather than all three of them being a complete working family unit. As a product of a broken home myself (although I was 14, and my parents divorced) I feel safe in saying that perhaps if the father had been there, all four of them would have operated as one.
Some people complain about the rather extended vocabulary of Fisk and Lucy when they were young. I feel it's realistic, to a point. You won't often find children who have that kind of vocabulary, but they do exist. Both Fisk and Lucy are quite intelligent, even if they express it differently (particularly Fisk, who seems always lost in his own thoughts.) I also believe that it's also because their mother at that age is still quite young, probably not even 30.
As far as political views goes, it's rather obvious Jay is injecting his own opinions into it, but if you think about it, the mother is an Army wife. It stands to reason that she would raise her children in a conservative point of view. I don't mean the stereotypical conservative, the God-fearin' gay-bashing Anglophile type. That's neo-conservatism, which is a category all its own. As far as the incident with Fisk's teacher goes, it was less about political leanings and more about a teacher pushing too much of her own political views into her cirriculum- and bringing down the hammer on anyone expressing a view that she disagrees with (i.e. Fisk.) As far as her comment on the way women should dress, keep in mind that Democrats hate fun too. Mrs. Bedbutter is a caricature, but then again I've met some people who were very much like her- possessing a warped, far-left worldview wherein the majority is scum and the minority is raised to messianic status, but her views on internal American society are warped in a different way.
What I like about this comic is the way it touches on serious matters. I feel that through different incidents Fisk and Lucy have both grown too fast for their ages. In Fisk's case, it's the loss of his virginity at a young age, only to find out later that such things just shouldn't be. I think Fisk is intelligent enough to realize that what happened with Nikki is an abnormality, and has adjusted accordingly to it. The sad truth about that incident is that sex at a young age is occuring far more often- far, far more often- than anyone realizes. It's not about how much sex we put into the media, it's how much deviancy that is put into families. Fisk also has gone through a relationship that turned rather adultly sour, as well as seen his mother raped (as well as severly hurt the man responsible, who also was his very own principal- an authority figure) not to mention he possibly still feels ultimately responsible for Lucy's near-death experience. I think Fisk may have trouble with authority figures in the future. His principal turning out to be a creep (and Fisk beating him up for it), Nikki's father, as well as the feelings of betrayal he had when his mother was responsible for his best friend moving away.
Lucy I feel is also older than her age, yet not quite as old as Fisk would be. She has gone through quite a bit. First, she nearly died at the age of 9. She doesn't seem to fault her brother for it, at least not as much as he does for himself. Throughout her entire adolescency, she has felt unwanted and unattractive. Throw in seeing her mother raped, not to mention the whole Ted issue which couldn't possibly have helped her self image any...
...which leads me into the incest issue.
I honestly didn't know what to make of this at first. But as I thought about it, it slowly started to make sense. Fisk seems like the loner type- he's always lost in his thoughts, doesn't trust anyone, may have the beginnings of authority issues. The only person he really trusts is his sister. He loves his mother, that much is evident, but she's an adult, an authority figure, and therefore beyond trust. He has lost trust with society, with authority, with his peers, possibly himself- everyone except his sister, who he feels responsible for and has never seriously hurt him or did something to break his trust. Lucy, on the other hand, also trusts nobody but her brother. She has gone through a great deal of personal grief, and has a very low self-image. It is only natural that those two would gravitate towards each other. I think they're closer than any sort of family tie could ever bring them. It's as if they are two sides of the same coin- they are a package deal. This isn't incest for the sake of sex, it's incest for the sake of emotional shelter.
Good grief, enough analysis.
I feel the characters are likeable, believeable, and you feel compassion for them. Jerry, Elizabeth's dad, reminds me of my doctor, actually- he's 90, Jewish, still the best doc in town, and yet a joy to talk to and learn from. I feel that his gun enthusiasm is meant to mean anything except that he is very much for the cause of Israel, which during that timeperiod was facing some serious problems. Besides, who's to say he isn't a veteran?
The writing is excellent. To some it seems that some of it is purely shock value, but I think it's less about shock value and more pivotal points in the characters' lives.
I've always liked Jay's art, and while there isn't much improvement from the beginning to now, there didn't need to be. With practice the artwork has become sleeker and more flexible. The lack of background I think is a non-issue. This isn't a comic with a heavy focus on good art (although the characters themselves are excellently drawn)- this is a comic with a focus on story. Some can pull off both, but I feel a story like this is more important than fancy backgrounds.
I'd highly recommend this comic to anyone open-minded enough to accept anthro art and real-life situations that most people don't seem to want to talk about.
|Review by dethtoll Sun Jul 24 2005 06:10 AM