Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Youth is Wasted
I met and spoke with Adhouse Books Publisher Chris Pitzer at this year's HeroesCon, and he gave this book on the house, so thank you very much!
Before getting this volume, I had heard much about Noah Van Sciver's mini-comics, but the only one I had read - and I just read it a couple of weeks ago - was The Lizard Laughed, which came out earlier this year from Oily Comics. That comic, about a young man who travels across the country to meet the biological father he had never known, was full of energy, emotion, and such drama. I highly recommend it. A couple of years ago, I tried getting his 1999 comic from Retrofit, but it was sold out. Luckily for me, it is included in the selection of stories reprinted in this volume.
The main character of 1999 is stuck in a rut, working at a sub shop, without a social life or any prospects. After he gets involved with a married co-worker, he thinks he finds a kindred spirit, but things fall apart pretty quickly. This is how the story starts, just so you get a flavor of the impending drama:
Holden Caufield, puffing his chest and raging to hide his own inadequacies and vulnerabilities.
R. Crumb on the book cover, and I can see similarities in the blunt, almost confessional aspects of his narratives and his power-packed artwork. In addition, he has consistently delivered great comics. His first graphic novel, The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln was very well received and appeared on many "best of" lists.
Others' reviews I have read about this book are very positive. Rob Clough wrote that it is "a substantial collection, one that provides both an introduction to and an insight regarding the evolution of Van Sciver as an artist." Bart Croonenborghs called it his "must-buy of the week." You can read a lot more about the artist in this lengthy interview with Tom Spurgeon.
A preview and more about Youth is Wasted is available here from Adhouse Books. Also, as you should be able to tell by now (definitely by the time you read "masturbating cyclops"), although I loved this book I do not recommend it for children as there is frequent strong language and sexual content.
Coincidentally, yesterday was Noah Van Sciver's 30th birthday and to commemorate the event, 2D Cloud is selling a new mini-comic. Check it out here.
Thank you again, Chris, for the review copy. I enjoyed it very much!