Thursday, May 29, 2008

Val Reviews The Young Liars

David Lapham's smart and dangerous Young Liars is clearly a Vertigo title that could have benefited from a direct-to-trade release and a focused marketing campaign as an original graphic novel. While followers of Lapham's acclaimed Stray Bullets series and a comic reader with a cultivated taste for indie work in general would appreciate Young Liars, I think getting something like this out to the wider book-reading audience would have been a plus.

Young Liars features Sadie Dawkins, an unfortunate young woman with a bullet lodged in her cranium. The injury has impaired her impulse control and grasp of morality; hijinks ensue.

To be honest, I'm always a little wary of the "Paean to A Suicide Girl" type storyline, where the Normal Dude (stand-in for the reader) waxes poetic about this crazy chick he both loves and fears. Thankfully, Lapham stocks Young Liars with a host of gonzo, Kurt Vonnegut-on-crack type touches, like Sadie's pervert supermarket mogul father.

As we get to issue #2, the tone changes somewhat, gets more "local," and focuses on the life of our hapless Normal Dude, Danny. I liked this realm a little more than the over-the-top "set pieces" in the first issue, which felt like a lot of information and exposition was crammed into 22 pages. Hence the problem again I have with some Vertigo titles presented in the monthly format. It will be interesting to see what direction the story takes from this point.

Young Liars is a an ongoing monthly series from Vertigo Comics, and is recommended.


  1. I absolutely loved the first issue of YL. I was prepared for the 2nd, as I knew it was a flashback sequence, and in my opinion wasn't nearly as strong.

    The problem is, DC used pages from #2 as a preview in the backs of other, Vertigo titles. When I tried to hip YL to a friend, he flipped through a preview in the back of his Hellblazer, and couldn't understand what I was so excited about. Way to promote DC!

    At least #3 (out this month), gets back to the core characters and plot. I'm using your '3 issue rule' Val, and I'm going to stick around and see what happens.

  2. Issue one was interesting, issue two was BRUTAL, issue three....seemed off.

    After issue three, I think the quality of the title could go either way.

    You checked out House of Mystery yet?

  3. I'm really enjoying it. I want to read the first three in a block, to put the flashback in better context. (Didn't help that I read it when I was sleepy.)

    I'd like to think I would have picked this up as a trade. I really like Stray Bullets, but I have to admit I haven't picked up Silverfish yet. It's the price tag for an unknown product -- even though I really like the creator -- that puts me off. (And I guess I figured I'd be able to find it cheaper if it ever comes out in paperback, which it probably has by now, but it's been off my radar so long it's dropped in priority.)

  4. I was pretty lukewarm to this comic. I think that if it came out between 1998 and 2001 I would have loved it. It made me nostalgic for that breif time when Vertigo comics were an essential part of my life. While I agree that it would probably read better in a collection, I miss that time way back then when I could enjoy a new comic like Deadenders or The Invisibles every month. I really want to like Young Liars and I did but not enough to keep buying the floppies. I'll probably revisit when/if collected.

    The cover and the promotion of the book did do a good enough job to get me to buy the first floppy though. This is something I almost never ever do any more.

  5. I liked #1-3 but only got turned on to it because I picked up a free copy of #1 at NYCC. I wouldn't have picked it up in trade.

    I understand where you're coming from on the pacing because so far it does feel kind of choppy but I'm willing to stick with it for now.

    Oh, and I didn't see the end of #3 coming. I should have done but didn't.

  6. Issue 1 was a major turn off for me. Aside from the whole Sexy Brain Damaged Danger Chick thing, and the way the book seemed to try too hard on absolutely every level, I got the impression that the author learned everything he knows about urban culture from the "Final Fight" games. It points to a possible trend at Vertigo of combining truly delicious art with the most laughable pseudo-badass nonsense (see also: "Vinyl Underground"). It's as though the editors completely misunderstand what made "American Virgin" good.

  7. The first issue was definitely overstuffed. But I was extremely put off by Sadie Dawkin's, another in a long line of idealized indie girls that have never existed, who live only to be in love with the hero and be saved by him. I think Natalie Portman has something of a cottage industry playing roles like this. Too many of the other characters felt recycled and Sadie's dad is a Preacher stock weirdo. This one sits stiffly as a Vertigo cliche comic. Some swearing, a little nudity and violence, but altogether not that good.

  8. IMO best comic vertigo are currently publishing. Pray it picks up an audience and survives...

  9. It really seemed like the sort of thing id like but halfway through the first issue i was bored. it was just lukewarm and i couldn't shake the feeling that id read something very similar in another comic book or possibly a manga before.

    the art was good but the story just wasnt my cup of tea.