Title: The Lil Depressed Boy: Supposed To Be There Too #2
Writer/Letterer: S. Steven Struble
Art: Sina Grace
This week sees the second issue of S. Steven Struble and Sina Grace’s cult favourite Lil Depressed Boy: Supposed To Be There Too. Issue 2, entitled “I Raise My Fist,” carries on directly from the events of the previous issue, in which the very presence of LDB’s sort-of-ex-girlfriend Jazz threatened to ruin Drew’s big night and evoked feelings of sadness and anxiousness in LDB. Spike’s soothing reassuring and general loveliness brought him out of his stupor and they decided to stay and support Drew at his important performance.
The dialogue is fairly ordinary and nothing spectacular, but this is used perfectly to create a realistic world with which the reader can engage fully. In this issue, for example, LDB and Drew talk about what books they are reading and what books they would like to read; this ordinary conversation is warm, engaging and a welcome departure from the snarky one-liners and intergalactic jargon that is so rife in superhero comics. It’s also great seeing the nuances in different characters’ speech, seen in Spike’s funny and off-beat rushed speech (“IT’SNICETOHAVEAFACETOGOWITHALLTHESTORIES”), which creates distinct identities for each character. And the dialogue between LDB and Drew after his performance is pretty touching, and after Image’s previous release Cutter it’s nice to embrace some warm, fuzzy feelings.
Perhaps still running on the confidence mustered by his relationship with Spike (which is fast becoming this humble nerd’s favourite comics partnership with each passing issue), LDB decides to confront his manager to bring Toby’s attack to light. Being Lil Depressed Boy, this obviously does not go quite according to plan, and our affable hero may not get the justice he deserves. The issue ends on an exciting cliff-hanger, no mean feat for an issue not exactly filled to the brim with drama and action. That is exactly the beauty of Lil Depressed Boy and indeed where Struble’s genius lies: alongside Grace’s excellent art work, he creates suspense and affection from the reader in its simplicity and realistic poignancy.
Grace’s art work remains consistent: bold and colourful, with realism that exemplifies the grounded universe of the comic. He expertly executes pregnant pauses throughout, allowing space for tension and contemplation alike, as seen in the panels in which LDB is hanging out listening to music, content and not really doing anything in particular. These rich yet mellow panels help make Lil Depressed Boy a soothing and enjoyable read, especially the panel highlighting the skyline behind LDB as he walks along the street. And even in character design, it is funny how quickly you get accustomed to seeing a huge eyed ragdoll figure blend into a highly realistic universe, without so much as a second glance from other characters or questions like “What happened to you? Why are you a ginormous puppet?”
Lil Depressed Boy: Supposed To Be There Too #2 proves to be another engaging and enjoyable addition to the series; its art work is consistent and brings vibrancy and emotion to an otherwise ordinary world, and the story, as always, is simple yet captivating, remaining a title that veers away from formulaic plot development. Lil Depressed Boy is romantic, funny and surprisingly engaging for a story in which not a lot happens, and is definitely worth pursuing further.