What do you do when your whole world is turned upside down? Dana just wants her Queen Street West neighbourhood to be prosperous and electic – is that so much to ask? Between perpetual Canadian snow storms, a local shooting and her bookstore job on the brink of extinction, it evidently is.
WALKING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND?
Meet Dana. Early 30s. Torontonian. Coffee fiend. Kinda sad. While her life in the Great White North may seem quaint enough (to top it all off she works at Abberline Books – am independently owned failing shop), Dana is passionate about her neighbourhood. Each time another business on Queen Street West kicks the buckets she absorbs the impact like a bullet. She is very literally confronted by the degeneration of her neighbourhood when she discovers a local shopkeeper shot and bleeding behind the counter and is forced to stay with him until he dies. To use a truism for a moment: when it rains, it pours. and, as if one emotional trauma were not enough, Dana is shortly slapped with the news that Abberline Books is closing. Bejamin Rivers deserves oodles of credit for having his female character react in a manner that feels honest – even when her paranoia and frustration boils overs onto local scumbag: Remy. Dana catches him on multiple occassions publicly harassing his girlfriend and reports him to the police. It was nice to see the displacement of emotion that we all experience played out on the page without Dana coming off as some crazy broad who can’t control herself. In the end the accumulated strain spurs something in Dana and we are able to watch her begin taking the first real chances she may ever have attempted. Ever. The End, in the case of Snow, are happy words.
LESS IS MORE
Simplicity. Simplicity. Simplicity. Benjamin Rivers may well be a master of it. Snow: Complete eBook Edition is a black and white comic served by the stark lack of colour. In every way it adds to the Canadian winter setting (trust me, I would know). Each character has a simple, individual design and Dana appears to have an entire wardrobe tucked away in her Queen Street West apartment. Much like the protagonist herself, the street she holds so dearly is filled with real world landmarks that live in the same minimalist design. This book looks like the product of independent comic book making that it is which also adds to the hipster charm of all the characters we come across as they consume craft beers and text cryptically throughout. There are many, many silent panels throughout, but the narrative clips along under Rivers careful consideration of exactly what we need to see next. I am want to compare Rivers’ style to Bryan Lee O’Malley’s work on Scott Pilgrim with its anime inspired roots and clean aesthetic and not just because they are both Canadians creating stories set in Toronto. Fans of O’Malley’s work should definitely glance at Snow if they are hankering for a fix.
SLICE OF ICE
Snow: Complete eBook Edition flows together as a graphic novel, although initially offered in four single issues. It’s a quiet real world tale that the sun seems to rise over throughout. The characters are sweet and real and Dana makes an excellent companion to the end. Read Snow, then tell your friend to.