This month I am posting a review of a different self-published comic book each day for the rest of the month! Here is an archive of the books reviewed so far!
Today I am featuring Charles Schneeflock Snow's City Sordid Blues Volume 1.
Charles Schneeflock Snow's City Sordid Blues tells the story of a group of young-ish adults (all seemingly in their late 20s) living in the city, but more specifically, it tells the story of two burgeoning couples, Luther, a Christian guy who has trouble dealing with his faith in relation to his attraction to Edna, who is a "modern" woman who can't figure out why she is so interested in such an old-fashioned guy.
Charlie, a bitter cartoonist dealing with a bad breakup that is keeping him from seeing that the perfect girl is right in front of him in his good friend, Brandi, who has major self-esteem issues.
Artistically, Snow does a nice job with the pages - he throws in a lot of little detail to make the characters' world seem fully realized, and he always makes sure to give each character facial expressions that truly express what the characters seem to be feeling. So the art is good.
Here is a panel with Charlie and Brandi...
Here is a panel with Luther and Edna...
But as for the story...
Snow has a marvelous aptitude for depicting realistic characters. Sometimes, though, I wonder if that's a mixed blessing.
Charlie and Brandi, in particular, have an absolutely amazing courtship. It's really one of the best courtships I have read in comics. It was realistic, it was touching, it was funny, it was endearing. The characters moved ever so slowly towards each other, but all along the way, you could see the characters figuring out that they should be together. The obstacles placed in their way were even extremely realistic, and dealt with nicely (there's a scene in particular where Brandi decides to go on a date with another guy and is disappointed when she comes home to find no messages from Charlie, who she was hoping would be moved to action by her date, or at least give SOME response - well, what happens next is extremely cute). But once they are together, their arc almost stops in its place. They have some cute scenes still, but there is no longer the sense of movement that the narrative had driving it throughout most of Volume 1. This might be addressed in Volume 2 (and beyond), but for Volume 1, Brandi and Charlie's story slows to a drag.
That's better than Luther and Edna, though, as their relationship seems even more realistic, but that's because what happens in real life often makes no narrative sense at all, and that seems to be the case for Luther and Edna. Decisions seem to be made because, well, that's what the character decided to do! And that totally happens. Don't get me wrong, that's completely realistic that people will make abrupt decisions, but it doesn't always make for a consistent narrative. There's a lot of stops and starts with Luther and Edna that is a bit disconcerting.
Still, in the end, these are the kinds of problems that you like to see from an author, that their characters are so fully realized that their narratives don't follow any preconception of what a narrative is.
So overall, I'd recommend this comic. Thirteen bucks for almost 120 pages is a good deal.
You can order copies of the series here.
Here is his site, Sordid City Blues, where you can follow the gang's adventures!
If you would like to participate in the month with your self-published comic, there most likely is still time (depending on how fast you mail out comics). Just check out the Review Copies section to see where to mail a review copy of your comic.