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Breutzman, Nicholas – Yearbooks (with Shaun Feltz & Raighne Hogan)



Yearbooks (with Shaun Feltz & Raighne Hogan)

Technically this should probably be on the Various Good Minnesotans page, but as it’s mostly the work of Nicholas (as artist and one of two writers), he gets his own page!  Besides, all those various folks from Minnesota are all going to be doing their own solo work soon, if they’re not already, so why not start giving them all their own pages now?  Before I even get into the story here, I have to say that the art is absolutely gorgeous.  Nicholas uses the silences of his characters beautifully to convey emotions that would take him pages of exposition and Raighne nails the drabness of high school while still managing the vibrancy of the students and the general high school art world.  As for the story, it’s the tale of a young high school student as he tries to navigate the hallways and avoid getting beat up, learn something from a wise art teacher (but one who’s reluctant to show his own work), and deal with his feelings, whatever they are, for an attractive female friend.  It’s all tied together by a dream Ryan as he imagines a younger class, all doing their bleak and honest art projects, which causes their teacher to turn into a literal moonbat.  In the meantime there’s Ryan trying to learn the basics from his art teacher while coming to the sudden realization that the guy, his expertise notwithstanding, is a bit of a creep.  No, I can’t say more without ruining the comic.  There are many books that go back to the high school years in sort of a perfunctory way, dealing with the actual events but without managing to capture the mood.  The whole art team does that beautifully here, as Ryan knows that minding his own business is not enough to avoid confrontations, his female friend struggles basically alone to grow up while being young, gorgeous and a loner, and the whole book beautifully illustrates that the only person you can count on in high school is yourself.  Another great comic from this crew, here’s hoping that they stick with their anthology while managing to put out great projects like this.  I wouldn’t have guessed Minnesota to be one of the places that could legitimately be called the future of comics, but if these people keep this up they might well get there.  $13