MacLean, W.B. – Lynchpin #1
It’s often baffling to me that I don’t see more comics dealing with really serious subjects (genuine personal trauma, the wars this country is involved in, the ridiculously high unemployment and awful housing situation).Â Sure, sometimes serious things are addressed, but it’s usually under the guise of a great personal hardship for the creator, not so much how those things are serious problems on their own and how maybe we as a society should start thinking about addressing them.Â There are exceptions (hi Dan Archer!), but they’re few and far between.Â Imagine my surprise when I discovered that this comic (which I thought would be in the “humor” pile by that cover) is a brutally honest take on sexual assaults on women.Â Well, one woman in particular, and even after 8 years she’s still changing the names of the people who attacked her just in case their threat to kill her family was serious.Â Its horror lies in how common this situation is, and in this case the young woman in question was 15 and too sick to stay at school.Â She felt lousy and just wanted to lay down, but was sidetracked on her way to the office by three young men who knew exactly where to hang out: on the stairs near the section of the school that was always empty in the afternoons.Â Things started off with the woman in question thinking the guys were just joking around with her before quickly realizing that they were deadly serious and that she was in real trouble.Â Luckily for her a friend was supposed to meet her after class and they had raised enough of a commotion that he was able to come to her rescue, but it was a near thing and it still scarred her for life.Â W.B. throws one fact in here that I hadn’t heard, and it’s astonishing: when the author of The Vagina Monologues was researching her book she interviewed a number of women, and she talked to over 300 of them before she finally found one who had never, in any way, been sexually assaulted.Â W.B. put it best: “It makes me ashamed to be a man, but damned glad to be one.”Â His technique in telling this story was brilliant as well, as it was told basically as a story that the young woman was relating to him, but with her making asides throughout the story and him adding his own opinions.Â After all, while it felt suffocatingly near to me, it was old news to the young woman and she had time in telling the story to relate where she was at that point in her life sexually (nowhere) and what she’s learned in the meantime.Â It was a horror story brilliantly told, and kudos to the man for putting it out there.Â W.B. was apparently a guitarist for 20 years before putting this out, so for anybody who was thinking that a guy with that background would be stereotypically air-headed: wrong.Â There’s also a tiny story at the end detailing a conversation with his girlfriend about what order you take the pieces of gum in those pop-out holders; a welcome piece after the seriousness of the rest of the comic.Â I’m not sure what else this guy has up his sleeve but it’s pretty clear that he wants to try some new things, and I’m genuinely curious to see what he does next.Â This isn’t an easy read but is an important one, and well worth the effort to hunt down.Â $4
Posted on May 26, 2010, in Reviews and tagged Lynchpin, W.B. MacLean. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on MacLean, W.B. – Lynchpin #1.