cover image Flower and Fade

Flower and Fade

Jesse Lonergan, . . NBM, $13.95 (192pp) ISBN 978-1-56163-496-5

The most striking thing about Lonergan’s black and white comic is the deliberately inexpressive, realistic but minimal art. Many wordless panels look like amateur snapshots: they record the presence of objects or people without indicating what’s going on or how an observer should feel. Even in closeups of the characters speaking, faces seldom show what’s going on inside. This style is quite appropriate for the story of a casual relationship that can’t develop into anything more. Kyle is an alienated young man, living in a borrowed apartment and starting a boring job. Erika is a rootless young woman who works in a nearby restaurant. They meet, like each other, have sex, spend time together and have minor spats, then part. Short, diarylike chapters give only glimpses of the two during their affair, but hint that a future is possible. Both feel that their lives are meaningless, so they might be ready to find meaning in caring for another person. But Kyle in particular is uneasy about becoming emotionally vulnerable by getting too close to someone else. The story’s conclusion is sad but muted, suggesting that the breakup was inevitable with people like this, resulting in a book that thoroughly succeeds in being mildly depressing. (June)