Not Our Face: LOCAL

It occurred to me recently that I’d only written one review for yourface, despite declaring months ago that I would provide more. I’d love to be able to tell you that life got in the way, but it really didn’t. If anything a sublime idleness got in the way, and Fable 2. The least said about that life-ruining opiate of a game the better. (It lets you marry hookers, live in castles, and hang out with a gay pirate played by Stephen Fry. Resist it’s intoxicating charms, I implore you!) Anyway, I’ve seen fit to grace you with another review, for another comic, because I like comics, and I’m sick of people reading the wrong ones. Frank Miller fans, I’m looking at you.

The comic I’ll be reviewing below (unless you’re reading this upside down, in which case, well done you for managing to fasten your monitor to the ceiling) is Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly’s LOCAL. It ran for twelve issues, published by the lovely people at Oni Press, and is comprised of twelve stand-alone stories, which when read in sequence tells the story of Megan, a young lady who lives in a different city each year for a dozen years as she grows into herself and searches for a place to call home.

As you might guess, each issue features a particular city, and each locale is remarkably well researched. In the Minneapolis issue, for example, Megan’s fridge door is littered with fliers for local punk bands, including the thoroughly enjoyable, and, legend has it, frequently sozzled, Dillinger Four. While Kelly’s art maintains an instantly recognisable style throughout, the sense of place achieved is really quite remarkable, especially since the artwork is black and white.

At no point though, is LOCAL allowed to become a travel guide. Each issue is a fantastic short story in it’s own right, and allows us different insights into Megan’s character, and our own. Megan is well developed, but remains wonderfully relatable, and it’s very difficult not to see bits of yourself in her as she journeys through her late teens and twenties. It’s very hard to review Brian Wood’s writing, because he really is that good at his craft. Some issues are better than others, but there’s nothing sub-standard in sight. There’s not even anything that drops below great.

Oni have released the whole twelve issues in a truly gorgeous hardback format, with an embossed cloth spine. That may not be what it’s called, but it’s the best way I can think to describe it right now. It retails at $29.99, which worked out at just under twenty quid when I picked mine up, but sterling and the dollar have apparently a rough patch in their recent romance (earlier this year UK comics buyers were in a very nice position regarding the exchange rate) so the price could be a bit more. Sad face. Either way, ‘If you have the means I highly recommend you pick one up’, as they say in Sherman, Illinois. 5/5. Possibly 6/5 because it feels so nice to hold. Not that I cuddle works of graphic literature…

Thank you AndyVGLNT