Collins, Jed – Champ 2010

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champ20101

Champ 2010

It’s about damned time that somebody broke out of the daily diary strip formula. Jed starts off with the usual four panel strip, two panels above and two below, putting one out daily even when he doesn’t have a thing to say. Eventually he starts throwing in sketchbook pages when he’s too busy for a strip, then he moves to three panels, one on top of the other, and finally just whatever format he needs to tell the story he wants to tell from that day. In a genre that’s become tired as hell it was a nice change of pace. This also means that there are more than a few gaps, so any weirdos who demand 365 strips out of a year’s worth of a daily strip are going to be disappointed. As for the rest of us, enjoy the variety! As it says on the cover, this tells the story of Jed’s year without booze, and he regularly professes annoyance at that fact. It was kind of for health reasons but more than anything he seemed to want the challenge of a daily diary strip to fill the hole left by the lack of drinking. I did a review for the first month of this book, so I won’t mention that stuff (the short version is that I liked it), but the subjects of other strips include being miserable at a few different jobs for different reasons, liking the ladies from afar and then from closer up, trying to make time for his comics while still earning a living, wondering if those weird dimples on his thumb nail are cancer, resisting the urge to punch hipsters, and various shenanigans with his friend Chris Monday (whose books will be reviewed here one of these days too). Then things pick up a bit towards the middle of the book when Jed gets a serious girlfriend. That’s also about the time that he started getting complaints about a dip in quality in his work, to which I say: eh, maybe a bit. Misery is almost always a more interesting topic to read about than happiness, so there’s that, but fuck it, the guy was happy! Relationships being what they are, he might very well end up being miserable again some day, which will make his regular readers what, happy? That makes them assholes! I’m veering off track here, but I chatted with Chris and Jed at the hotel bar during the “open draw” thing for SPACE this year, and they both seem like nice enough guys, and as human beings I’d rather they were happy than not. And it’s not like his strips sucked after his relationship started, it’s just that he talked about more things in a relationship frame of mind, which can also seem like a personal attack to some self-centered single people. This is solid pile of strips and, like I said, he plays around with the format a bit, which is always nice to see. Check it out, why don’t you? $9

champ20102

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