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Long Hot Summer
Written by Eric Stephenson
Drawn by Jamie McKelvie
Published by Image Comics; $7.99 USD

When I got through reading this I had to check the spine for that all-to-familiar Image logo. Sure enough it was there, it also had the word ďromanceĒ, giving a clue as to what it's about, or where it should be filed in a library I suppose. This is a book that would fit better with works coming out of Oni Press maybe, definitely not something you're used to see coming from Image. Which is a very good thing.

With all that said, this is a bittersweet story about two friends and the woman who comes between them. Itís an excellent examination of friendship and love, or what we think love is. I like the way Stephenson is able to show the differences between the relationships men have and those that women have without ever really putting it into words. The main characters, Ken and Steve are best friends, even though Ken is a moocher with no car, no real job, and no real life outside of his friendship. Steve is the ideal male, good-looking, a car, good job, everything Ken wants to be, really. In walks Ashley, Kenís dream girl, but she wants Steve. When the inevitable split happens between the friends Ashley asks Steve why he puts up with Ken, itís a simple answer: ďHeís my friend.Ē

It sounds more melodramatic that it really is; everything is painted in a very real light. None of the characters seem phony or forced into their archetypes, it all just seems to happen naturally, and itís very cinematic. Itís all about the realization of what you want in life and changing the direction youíre headed in, about influencing the people around you and allowing yourself to be influenced by them.

At times itís even a difficult read, simply because you feel endeared to and betrayed by the characters. Part of that is the excellent art of Jamie McKevie. Everything flows very well and the characters look their parts without ever over stating it; not something easy to do in black and white I would think. It does have a slight Eastern influence, maybe to catch the eye of the manga reading crowd. That would also explain the books smaller format, but if it gains it more attention, all the better.

Most of us at some time in our lives will be one of these characters. Weíll have our hearts broken and our friendships ruined. Weíll talk about things that really donít matter, like where we bought our clothes, what bands are "in", or some other self-important tripe. I know I have, and reading Long Hot Summer makes me look back at those times and laugh at how unimportant it all turned out to be. Grade: 4/5

-- Logan Polk

Send review copies to:
Logan Polk
5812 Glenlake Ct.
Columbus Ga 31909

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The ADD Blog by Alan David Doane. Trouble with Comics Reviews of comics and graphic novels. Commentary about the artform and industry of comics. Get back to the main page.

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