Friday, January 28, 2011

Book-A-Day 2010 # 359 (1/28) -- SideScrollers by Matthew Loux

Matthew Loux's comics have a spiky energy that gives them a remarkable forward momentum even when his characters are just sitting and playing videogames with each other. And when they're running -- as on the cover to the left -- you can't help but smile and lean a little closer.

I've previously seen (and reviewed) Loux's later three-book (to date) Salt Water Taffy series, for middle-graders and up, but his first solo graphic novel, SideScrollers -- the story of three slackers on one day soon after graduating high school -- is even more fun and even more appealing to people who, like me, are somewhat past their own high school years.

Brian, Brad, and Matt are enjoying their freedom: hanging out, talking about random nothings, playing lots of videogames, and working shifts at entry-level retail. (Mostly, in this case, a hamburger chain called MacGreggor's.) Matt's got a crush on Amber, the new girl in town, and is horrified to hear that she has a date that night with Richard, the obligatory jock-bully that tormented our three heroes throughout their school careers. Things get worse when the three overhear Richard declare that he's planning to seduce Amber on webcam, to destroy her reputation. So of course they need to save Amber -- and, more importantly, to humiliate Richard in any way possible.

SideScrollers is a amiable romp through one long slackers' day, with shopping and mischief, fast food and mayhem, chases through the mall and evil cats, all leading up to the big concert that night -- from a band that Brian's brother plays in, and which is too cool for Richard (and his beefy jock henchmen) to understand or like. It could all be a John Hughes movie -- and I say that as a pure product of the '80s myself. The dialogue crackles, the situations amuse, and Loux's drawing makes it all sail forward at high speed, even when nothing much is happening. It is totally awesome, dude.

Book-A-Day 2010: The Epic Index

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