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Sunday, April 29, 2007
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If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.
Year of publication: 2004-.
Ross Campbell's Wet Moon, published by Oni Press, is a rather unique series of graphic novels showcasing a large cast of (mostly female) young characters, set in an eponymous small town with a strong gothic/Southern flavour.
The main character is Cleo (see the first cover), a girl just out of high school, who at the beginning of the first volume moves into a flat shared with another young woman, as she begins to attend college. The group of main characters includes Audrey, a black lesbian who also shares a flat, with a guy this time. Their entwined lives are chronicled in the two 180-page volumes already published, with an emphasis on their love life (or lack thereof, for some of them), and the ups and downs of their friendships.
This is a story where the characters are not shown differently depending on their sexuality, on the contrary. What's more, the lesbian aspects of the story takes somewhat more importance as the story progresses. Cloe, a seemingly straight girl, seems to wonder about herself, at least partly, and this makes for an interesting development in the second volume. There's also a gay boy who, although a secondary character, is also depicted in a perfectly integrated way. All those characters behave in a rather mundane, post-adolescent way, where life is still full of daily surprises, but where "Whatever" seems to be the best way to react to a lot of things. It's endearing and infuriating at the same time.
Another important aspect of Campbell's work is the Gothic/punkish styling of most characters, and the weird, but not fantasy, happenings here and there. Campbell's art is also a strong reason why the whole vibe of the books is slightly off-key compared to reality (well, for me, at least). While his characters are far more realistic than most mainstream artists', some of his stylistic choices, like the pupil-less, glazed eyes he often draws, enhance the sense of shift I've felt while reading his series. A funny thing is that I think he draws cuter male characters than females--and I don't think that comes from my own tastes. Maybe it's because he tends to give more regular features to the boys and men than to the girls and women, who definitely aren't constrained by mainstream ideas of beauty. Apart from that, the art creates a strong atmosphere and pays attention to details of everyday life. In a word, it's as good and captivating as the writing.
You can find those two volumes in any bookshop, or at Amazon (volume 1, volume 2, which was published last summer), and Ross Campbell is working on a third volume.
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