Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pete and Miriam

Pete and Miriam are twenty-somethings who are lifelong friends, and this book shows many episodes from throughout their lives. Flashing back and forth through time, we see them go to film school, date different people, go trick-or-treating, meet, pull pranks, drink, dabble in punk rock, and deal with high school. There is no single narrative thread, but we get several impressions about them and their lives that add up to give a fuller picture of these characters. I think that Pete comes off worse than Miriam, but what is palpable is the strong relationship between the two. Also, they really like movies.

Writer/artist Rich Tommaso has been creating comics for the better part of two decades. He won an Eisner Award for his work on the graphic novel Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow, and he has a great variety of works available for preview at his official website. Currently he is also working on re-coloring reprints of classic Carl Barks stories for Fantagraphics. Tommaso speaks about his career at length in this interview at The Comics Reporter.

Reading this book, I enjoyed the idiosyncrasies of Pete and Miriam's relationship as well as Tommaso's expressive art. He has a great feel for the characters, and I appreciate how he shows them at different times in their young lives. I have found few reviews online about this book, and they have been mixed thus far. Matt Demers wrote about how the book was structured, "I was a bit perplexed after I read through it because... the stories jump around through different times." He added, "I really felt as if I had read a collection of stories with no connecting tissue between them." I would counter that there are connections between the stories, especially once you realize they are all about the same two people. The reviewer at the Stumptown Trade Review enjoyed the realism of the book and concluded, "Do yourself a favor and pick up Pete and Miriam today."

Pete and Miriam was originally published in France, and it was published in the US by Boom! Studios. Here is a sizable preview posted at the Graphic Novel Reporter.

On a side note, I met Tommaso at HeroesCon this summer and he signed my copy of this book and also provided a fun illustration. He is a great guy!

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