Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Young Liars - and you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here? (Vertigo, 2008)


David Laphams 'Young Liars' is proving to be an amazing experience - not always entertaining, sometimes confusing, but amazing indeed. The plot is not linear in the slightest - it hops, skips and jumps around time until, frankly, I am lost.

But it is the only comic book out now that can make me gasp and laugh at the same time. In fact it is the only book ever to make me laugh and gasp at the same time.

In this issue, we learn that, maybe, the invasion of the spiders from Mars is really just Sadie’s delusional dream -- but only “maybe” as Sadie’s confrontation with her mother and half-brother suggest that it could be real. Except that Danny knows she confuses reality and this delusional dream of hers, and has somehow worked to influence it, to change his role in it from the father/invader to hero Danny Duoshade. We’re never told how Danny accomplished this, but the idea is very intriguing.

As is Sadie’s continual failure to stop this invasion. Danny narrates that she always fails and always somehow lets five spiders escape, suggesting that this delusion is some sort of psychological defense, a reason to live in a way. Or, those five spiders actually keep escaping the same way villains continually escape the hero after being foiled in superhero comics. Lapham purposefully references superhero comics as Danny calls the manic, violent, excitable Sadie “Superhero Sadie,” the survival persona of Sadie who hunts the spiders and saves the world... but not quite.

What’s amazing is that the story Lapham is telling could turn out to be something as simple as a messed up girl with a bullet in her brain who is delusional, or it could be a full-out invasion by spiders from Mars with this Martian spider-princess as the only line of defense. Even Danny isn’t totally convinced that one possibility is the true one, and Lapham is brilliant at making both seem equally likely. There’s even the hint of questioning why they both can’t be true.

I cannot begin to summarise, and do not advise any newcomers to do anything other than, if they wish to join in on Laphams fun, then start with issue #1. You will still be confused within a few issues, but still, start at issue #1 or you will never ever understand.

Ostensibly about a group of 20-somethings from New York, all potentially treacherous, mainly psychotic, self serving and messed up, lurching from one disaster to another, their lives constantly in danger.

However, it is funny, energetic and vibrant. There is a lot of love going into this book, and it really deserves to be read by anyone with a love for comic books. Lapham, who writes and does the art in the book, and it is a great achievement.

But anyway, back to issue #9 -

Are these Spiders real? Who the hell is the guy who turns up at the end (this was the bit where I laughed and gasped at the same time)? What was going on with Sadies mom? and dad? The dad seemed fine a few issues ago, why is he dying now and what is with the dwarf and the prostrate??

My head hurts. They are collecting the first few issues in a trade and calling it 'Daydream Believer' - out Dec 2008. Relive it all in its gory, brutal, funny, weird beauty.

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