Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Title:Suburban Folklore
Writer/Artist: Steven Walters

Suburban Folklore is as far as I can tell a collection of short pieces, all with the same characters, which progressively became an overall story as they developed towards the book form. Ash, Yes, Nate, Sam and Rob are all twenty something suburbanites, who like comics, punk gigs, generally having a good time. But as they find themselves on the cusp of adulthood they find themselves faced with the problems and realisations that come with that. Yes crashes at Nate's frequently, avoiding her parents, fighting with her boyfriend. Ash suggests that perhaps Yes has feelings for Nate, something which becomes more of a possibility when she dumps her abusive boyfriend. But Nate is in love with Sam, they have always been close - best friends - but when she disappeared to California for 3 weeks with her boyfriend his feelings sank in. But Sam liked California and is determined to move out there to live. Meanwhile money is short for Ash, something that might be all the more important when his girlfriend is late. And Rob is still getting over a break up, till he meets an equally anti-social punk girl when he is dragged to a gig by Sam and Yes.

Black and white, slice of life comic book. One could almost imagine that Steven Walters had a checklist to work with writing this book - crap boyfriends, deaths in the family, messy break ups, hostile parents, pregnancy scares, relationships confusion, and the one closest to my poor broken heart, falling for a friend. For all the shopping list of drama, we have a wide enough cast to split the duties up between them, and the way it all comes together works well. So that the results are emotive and affecting, or maybe I'm just too close to the subject matter right now? Though, strong, contemporary characters that I can relate to, has always been an appealing subject matter for indie comics that I have enjoyed.

Walters has set up in own publishing imprint Ourobor to get this book out there, the DIY aspect of the indie scene always being something important, inspirational, and difficult. Artistically we can see the quality of work improve through the book, so that by the end it would be fair to compare his drawing to that of someone like Steve Rolston. With more shorts being published through his website, Walters is someone who I think will be worth watching.

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