June 8, 2014

"This was about the time that mom started to pull away."
Charles Forsman
Fantagraphics, 2014
68 pages, B&W, softcover

Last year, Fantagraphics Books published The End of the Fucking World by Charles Forsman.
I was going to write something about the book but all I ended up doing was just tease about it.
TEOTFW was a book about a different kind of adolescence, one that is maybe in a diametrical opposite of the traditional view of teens: it was about not feeling and how it made us closer and farther away from our humanity.
Forsman was a student at the Center for Cartoon Studies and soon after graduation decided to adventure into independent publishing. He founded Oily Comics based on a specific policy: simple, affordable comics.
Celebrated Summer is, technically, his first long form book - TEOTFW was actually first serialized as floppies and only later collected into book form by Fantagraphics - and continues to approach the thematics of adolescence.
Wolf, our overweight protagonist, with his friend Mike decide to take a short trip (in more than one way) after graduating from high school. Self-discovery ensues.
He is, pardon the pun, a lone Wolf, a solitary creature that makes introversion his way of life. His inner monologues are that much more revealing about him and offer us glimpses about the parts of his life that aren't explored in the book - particularly his relationship with his grandmother.
Forsman drawing style is clearly influenced by Charles Schulz (Peanuts), a familiar and safe line that uncomplicates. An appropriate style that, unlike popular belief, is always adult and that fits well with the story's atmosphere and themes.
So, Celebrated Summer is not a story per se, doesn't follow a plot nor comes to a clear conclusion. It's a story about a person, their loneliness and what may or may not be inferred between the lines. A bit like real life.

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