Carvajal, John – Sunshine State


Sunshine State

You know, after doing this for almost 20 years you’d think I’d have a better sense by now of the best point in a review to address some nitpicks when I mostly love the book in question. Ah well, I’m bound to figure this stuff out sooner or later, right? Anyway, overall there’s a whole lot to like about this book. It’s the tale of a young Colombian kid who’s going through some big changes in his life, told over the course of a single year. It starts in the summer, with our hero being completely directionless in life, up to and including not being sure if he even wants to live any more. The fall has him gain said clear direction in his life, but it puts him in direct conflict with his parents. Winter has his being forced to face up to his previous choices and the consequences of his lifestyle, and they were some doozies. Finally summer shows him making some further changes, even leaving things off on a hopeful note. That’s as vague as I could make things, otherwise known as my best attempt to avoid spoilers. The dialogue is genuine and heartfelt, the characters each had distinctive voices by the end, and the occasional dreaminess of the artwork perfectly suited the action. That being said, I did have a few questions/comments. I get why he chose the four season structure (it really nailed down a timeline), but I don’t think it was necessary. The changes this kid went through are more like what other people in similar circumstances would go through over the course of several years, to the point where I actually double checked after it was over that it really was supposed to be set in a single year. Let that sucker breathe, is what I’m saying. His choice to leave the dialogue with the parents in Spanish was bold, and an excellent chance for me to test my Spanish skills (both better than I expected and not good enough to follow everything), but the effect is that it leaves some conversations behind. Generally you could get enough information through context clues (this being a visual medium and all), but that climactic final conversation was 80% (or so) lost on me. John seems relatively new to comics (his first book in his store is from 2015, which is not to say that I’m not completely wrong and he had been making minis for a decade before that), but this book is showing off some serious skills. And, as always, I’m some crank on the internet, so all nitpicks should be read with that knowledge in mind. Check it out, it’s well worth a look. $20

Posted on February 15, 2021, in Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.

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