#84 LOST AT SEA by BRYAN LEE O’MALLEY
You’ve all heard about Scott Pilgrim, right? Read the books, seen the awesome Edgar Wright adaptation in all it’s geeky technicolour glory? And you liked it real hard too I bet…
Then you need to head on down to your virtual high street dealer and pick up Bryan Lee O’Malley’s other work of genius Lost at Sea.
I should probably be ashamed that I bought this for myself as a totally selfish birthday present last year but you know what- balls to shame and a crooked middle finger to propriety because this graphic novel is all about self. The freakish, paranoid unsure self we all tend to hide away from the world.
Simplistic it might be, with pared down visuals and a small cast consisting of four aimless youths; in fact on paper it sounds like little more than a cheap vanity project for the author… but if you think that you really couldn’t be more wrong and it kind of makes me want to punch you in the goober. Not only is the main character beautiful and vulnerable even with her lack of brushstrokes, I honestly defy anyone, male or female not to relate to her in some small forgotten way.
Seriously, can you honestly say that you’ve never felt adrift at one moment or another? Never felt excluded from some giant cosmic party that everyone around you seems to have gotten the invite to? Never had a vague suspicion that your neighbourhood cat has its own inconceivable agenda when it stalks past?
Because I have. And I can’t be the only one guilty of clinging on to memories of days spent with people as messed up as I was, days where the unease and itching in your own skin melted for an hour or two in the sheer heat of their madness.
It’s a lesson hard learned but Lost at Sea illuminates that struggle to find your own brand of chaos through a series of gorgeously crisp, seductive panels. They’re focused, filtering out all the intricate bullshit going on in the background and the young Canadian artist makes great use of the zoom shot to get tight in on the character’s faces to the point where… well Hell, Hitchcock would probably even approve.
And maybe that’s the secret right there, then…O’Malley, generous by nature (and messed up to a serious degree- check out his radiomaru twitter feed) offers those who’ve left their school days behind a chance to see through the lens/stylus of younger eyes again if only for a moment. He offers us a chance to share communal sensation; one made up of that directionless entropy we thought we might have lost along the way.
There’s something kind and welcoming in that I think, and even though you’ll probably finish this book in under a couple of hours, I have a feeling it’ll stay with you a whole lot longer.
Kinda like first love.
So I’ve heard.