Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Lit Bits-6/25/2014

Ally says:
Every Life Has A Soundtrack

When I think back on what made me pick that comic up that day in Midtown Comics, I can’t remember if it was the cover or the title.

Maybe a little of both.

I suppose it doesn’t really matter. Because inside I found a story that rang true from the first few notes….which happened to be from Debaser by Pixies….

“Gonna grow….up to be…be a Debaser.”

MixTape by Brad Abraham contains a cast of characters that reminded me of the kind of person I was in high school – the kind of people my friends were: Unsure. Sarcastic. And constantly using music as a means of communication. This was back at a time when my ability to say 'I like you,' 'I’m sorry,' 'I’m wrong,' and especially 'I love you' – were all better said in the words of someone else, set to a tune you’d never forget.

The first arc of MixTape deals with our main core characters:
Jim Abbott, 17 – Soundtrack: Pixies, Joy Division, REM
Terry Allison, 17 – Soundtrack: Bands you’ll hear about in about a year from now
Lorelei Cross, 17 - Soundtrack: The Smiths, The Cure, the Clash, Kate Bush, Madonna (only in secret)
Noel Dunlop, 17 – Soundtrack : Beastie Boys, INXS, Depeche Mode, New Order
Siobhan King, 17 – Soundtrack: Who cares? She’s back from Europe!

One of the great things about MixTape is that each issue centers on a different character in this core group. One of my favorites was issue 4, which centers around Siobhan, Jim’s love interest. Without giving too much away Siobhan’s story more than any other, details the power of music, the way it gives us a language like a tow rope to scale and navigate the dangerous landscape of high school, love and heartbreak. Siobhan’s sister, who is leaving for Seattle, gives her a single parting gift. A record (I won't tell you which one - read it yourself) and a note: “Every life has a soundtrack, babe. I found yours.”

Look, I've got an older sister. All my music came from her. I understand the power of a bequeathed album especially as a parting gift. I won't lie. I got all teary-eyed.

It is with one part humor, one part heartbreak and one part nostalgia that Brad Abraham weaves this coming of age story. Marco Gervasio and Jok create beautiful stark black and white panels, complete with all the visual “feels” that Abraham crafted for his characters.

I started reading comics late. I wasn’t hooked as a kid by The Capes so I’ve always gravitated to the more independent stream. Comics about regular people managing their life. MixTape is exactly that.

At the end of the series, the ultimate question is asked:

What song do you want them to play at your funeral?

Me? I haven’t decided yet. Today, I’m going with Wave of Mutilation.

“You think I’m dead, but I sailed away. On a wave of mutilation, wave of mutilation.”

And follow him. You won’t be disappointed. 

PS....On a side note: Ipods sort of suck don't they? I mean, playlists just aren't the same, are they? I used to spend hours making mix tapes for my friends - passing it to them in the halls in class. And then later on when we got together, all we did was talk about music. Look, I know people wax poetic about the 90's all the time but it was a bit of a high water mark wasn't it? It was a different time. I think that's what Brad does best. He brings you right back there, back when music was everything. 

Aleathia says:

Did you ever have a story that stayed with you for the whole of your life?  A story that crossed your path at just the right time in your personal growth that it affected you deeply?  Yeah, I thought so.  

The fall I turned 14 I started high school.  My teacher Mr. Grinnell assigned this book for a report.  At that point I had never heard of Shirley Jackson.  At first glance one would think this would be a story of winning, of good luck.  When I finished this story I was horrified.  Did things like this really happen?

I grew up in a series of small towns where people helped each other like good neighbors should and everyone knew everyone else's business.  I had never been exposed to the idea of stoning.  It haunted me as a young teenager and I later went to the library (we didn't have the luxury of the internet) and looked up stoning and read about the cultures that implored this method of dealing with things.  That was 27 years ago and this book still haunts me.  

I am not sure they assign this book in school anymore with the world being so politically correct, but kids should read this book to understand the true definition of hard times and hard decisions, to understand the sense of horrid duty.  Shirley Jackson was an amazing writer.  I think she gets overlooked a lot.  Give the old girl a try.