Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Line, Volume 1

As someone who grew up in a family who owns a restaurant (if you are ever in New Windsor, NY, go visit!), I can vouch for some of the insanity that goes on behind the scenes in your favorite kitchens. The mix of interesting and diverse personalities, languages, customers, and stresses can make for a dynamic and even explosive combination. This webcomic collection well captures that energy as well as the idiosyncrasies of working in a restaurant. Also, although it does flirt with stereotypes, it quickly fleshes out its cast into strong and unique characters.

The Line, Volume 1 follows Linda Park, the hostess and newest employee at Chef Paul Greenfield's new restaurant. The chef is an egomaniac who does not even remember hiring her. Chase Harvey, the manager, is a heavy drinker who has no time for training rookies or dealing with most problems. As they all navigate the opening of this new restaurant, they have to deal with some major obstacles, including nearly killing their first reviewer, some dangerous and unsanitary kitchen activity, and mishaps with coupons offered via a social networking site.

The Line is written by Kevin Church and drawn by Paul Salvi. Church is building up a strong cache of work called Agreeable Comics. Included in these comics are series set in the same universe as The Line, including The Rack, which is set in the comic store, and Lydia, which follows Linda's sister at a corporate job. Other series he has written include The Loneliest Astronauts, about a couple of unfortunate people involved in a botched space mission, and the mystery story She Died in Terrabone.

I have not found many reviews of this comic online yet, but it has been covered at CBR's Comics Should Be Good blog. There Brian Cronin praised Paul Salvi for his story-telling and his "bang-up job of conveying the precise mood of each character, just by their expressions." He also added that "Church’s humor in this strip is very character-driven, so being able to convey emotions is key."

The Line is an ongoing comic and more recent storylines can be found here. This print collection offers a number of extra features, including guest strips, pin-ups, early development art, and a short strip where Chef Paul teaches how to properly season and bake a chicken. You can buy a copy of the book here.

In all, I felt this was a very hip, human, and humorous comics collection. I'll definitely be back for seconds. (Sorry I could not resist that horrible, horrible, obvious, and horrible pun.)

Thank you, Kevin Church, for the review copy PDF!

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