Monday: The Kids Are Alright
had to pick the most unlikely thing to appear in a comic book,
I'm pretty sure Adam Ant is somewhere near the top five; right
up there with a decently written Superman monthly, and a pair
of A Cups.
it to a crank like Chynna Clugston-Major make him the feature
of the teenage for-once-not-a-coming-of-age story of Bleu
Finnegan: mod/punk rocker-ette who wants nothing more than
to get tickets to Adam Ant's upcoming show.
premise is Bleu, lover of all things Buster Keaton and musically
British, is trying desperately to get a pair of the prized
tickets, all the while dealing with the pranks and Peeping
Tom-ery of fellow classmates Alan and Victor, making eyes
at the new bohemian substitute teacher, and planning elaborate
revenge pranks with her friends Erin and Clover.
a teen comedy without the burden of some ridiculous teenage
love story thrown in for dramatic quality. In fact, Clugston-Major
may have written the most realistic portrayal of the teenage
thought process as yet recorded in modern fiction.
(let this mean Bleu for now) are obsessed with fantasy notions
of their favorite band front men and singer/songwriters, while
the boys do nothing but look at and for pornography, attempt
to take pictures of their female friends in various states
of undress, and do stupid stupid things to accomplish these
goals. And perhaps in the most realistic move: everyone swears
like it's a Tourette's Syndrome convention and they got there
late. Ahhhhh. That high school spirit fills my heart with
.and now fear
.and now dread
is a hilarious romp through the not so typical life of Bleu
and the rest of her high school cronies. Clugston-Major's
writing style is kinetic and the story moves along speedily
at times, hitting you with quick joke after quick joke, and
then slowing down and letting the slower jokes come out. Bleu
is a fun protagonist, as her frustrations and subsequent rants
about not being able to get her tickets, or whatever other
problem has arisen, are cute and she really does act like
doesn't try to bog down the reader with angst or teen issues
(like teenagers have it so hard; which Ecko Red shirt goes
with this skirt? I need to know or Bobby will never love me!).
Instead, we get a comedy in the vein of American Pie
minus the sex with confections.
needs a spotlight as Clugston-Major, who also illustrates
the tale, has the best grasp of manga art styling outside
of Japan that I have ever seen. Her style isn't American art
influenced by manga: it's actual manga, or at least as close
as an American can get.
all the artistic tendencies that define the medium, namely
dramatic (and often funny) posing of the characters, exaggerated
facial expression, and even a speed line or two. The manga
bent to the book matches her pacing beautifully, which is
another reason I'm always ready to give extra points to comic
creators who both write and pencil their books. Who better
to tell the (visual) story than the person who wrote it?
of Blue Monday is impressive to say the least. Not
only do you get the original story, but Chynna has managed
to collect all the back-up stories that ran in Dark Horse
Presents some years ago, not to mention the several pin-ups
from artists like Evan Dorkin, J. Scot Campbell, and Adam
stories are just as good as the main story, occurring before
the events of the main. Floating. Jesus. Head. Remember these
words and laugh repeatedly after you buy the collection.
Monday got picked up by Oni Press and given a fine graphic
novel treatment, as Oni continues to rescue and refurnish
old comic book works, putting this new collection in a smaller,
manga-esque format. What does this mean to you, valued customer?
It means that you get the whole kit and caboodle for only
careful if you're looking for this little gem in a bookstore:
due to its size and artwork, it may have fallen in with those
pesky Japanese imports. Soon it may develop an unhealthy obsession
with karaoke and raw fish.