The Li’l Depressed Boy: Supposed to be There Too #1 cements the relationship between LDB and Spike and deals with the reappearance of Jazz.
THE LI’L DEPRESSED BOY: SUPPOSED TO BE THERE TOO #1
Writer: S. Steven Struble
Artist and Inker: Sina Grace
Colourist and Letterer: S. Steven Struble
Editor: Nicholas Brandt
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
I’ve been a fan of The Li’l Depressed Boy since the first trade was published. It is a quiet slice-of-life indie comic that speaks to the ennui and romance inside of many comic book readers. The Li’l Depressed Boy: Supposed to be There Too #1 is the first installation in writer S. Steven Struble’s seventeenth chapter of his hipster epic.
The Li’l Depressed Boy: Supposed to be There Too #1 opens with LDB getting up in the morning. There aren’t even any words on the first page, just as most people’s morning routines are populated by silence. His new girlfriend Spike (who physically resembles his old sort-of girlfriend Jazz only with longer hair), is there to meet him and start their day together. For the first time in probably the entire series LDB’s personal life is a success.
At work LDB’s friend Drew invites him and Spike to a secret show he is playing. The interesting thing about LDB is he does a sideshow act (i.e. hammering nails up his nose), and it about to embark on a world tour backing up some popular musicians with his own contemporary version of a freakshow. By the time we are at the halfway point of The Li’l Depressed Boy: Supposed to be There Too #1 LDB’s friend also has success and there is a fun evening ahead with the two people he likes most in the world. What could possibly go wrong?
Struble does a great job at raising the stakes with small things throughout the issue. The Li’l Depressed Boy: Supposed to be There too #1 shows the titular character at one of his highest points throughout the entire series and in less than half a page the evening comes crumbling down – Jazz appears in the nightclub. Her appearance, touchy-feely nature and extreme enthusiasm regarding Spike’s existence shatters the mood of the entire night and sends LDB in an emotional downward spiral.
In the final pages of The Li’l Depressed Boy: Supposed to be There #1 Struble has new girlfriend Spike save the day. She convinces LBD that they should not leave and gives a brief lecture on the importance of supporting friend’s artistic enterprises. There are no great explosions in this issue, it’s could all be contained in the real world of the reader – except LBD’s ragdoll appearance – but the quiet peaks and valleys and subtle emotional shifts speak to Struble’s understanding of human interaction and measured storytelling.
The Li’l Depressed Boy: Supposed to be There Too #1 is an utterly sweet and entertaining introduction to the seventeenth chapter of this character’s journey.
SWEET COOL ART
Sina Grace helms the art side of The Li’l Depressed Boy: Supposed to be There Too #1. LDB is still the inexplicable ragdoll who stands out amongst the crowd inspite of himself and inexplicably manages to attract pretty hipster girls to him. Grace has his frame straighten and collapse along with his emotions through the issue and after a while it hardly matters that he is so visually striking compared to the rest of the cast.
As mentioned above, LDB’s new girlfriend – Spike – has a similar appearance to previous ladyfriend Jazz. This is certainly a choice on Grace’s behalf. Spike, however, is much softer than Jazz ever was. She has longer hair, glasses and is prone to sporting dresses. Soft. Much as the leading man of The Li’l Depressed Boy: Supposed to be There Too #1 Spike stands out. She is the guardian angel and the heroine of the issue and it makes sense that Grace would have her be just a bit more unique than the rest of the females.
The Li’l Depressed Boy: Supposed to be There Too #1, from an artistic and storytelling standpoint, is all about the characters and Grace nails the two most important figures in the issue and, presumably, the chapter. She is able to separate them from the crowd while visually representing their respective emotional states throughout the twenty-two pages.
The issue looks great.
THE BOTTOM LINE: GOOD JUMPING ON POINT
Even if you haven’t been following this indie sage from its inception, The Li’l Depressed Boy: Supposed to be There Too #1 is a great place to jump on. Introductions to each character is dropped in non-confrontational exposition and by the end of an issue the relationship between the two leads is explicitly clear. It’s sweet and relatable and a great read.