cover image Celebrated Summer

Celebrated Summer

Charles Forsman. Fantagraphics, $16.99 trade paper (64p) ISBN 978-1-60699-685-0

With high school over, Mike and Wolf, two apathetic teens in an unnamed suburban sprawl, have all the time in the world to do what they want, which includes a day of dropping acid, hiking to the top of a mountain, and then driving to the beach—or as Mike puts it, “I figure if we just keep driving east, we’ll hit water eventually.” As the acid kicks in, action ensues: Wolf struggles to pee, city skylines and reflections in the bathroom mirror twist and blur beyond recognition, and Mike asks for directions from a cop. What could have been merely a day in the life of a couple of teenagers on drugs is ratcheted up by breakaways to Wolf telling stories from his life, which paint a sad, familiar portrait: with his parents gone and only his grandmother to take care of him, he is adrift, suffering from low self-esteem. Forsman’s art is simple and effective, capturing Wolf’s grief and Mike’s carefree nature. While Mike laughs his way through this post–high school summer, Wolf is clearly very much in the moment, recognizing that this time in his life is passing by. Simpler and less dramatic than his previous, similarly themed TEOTFW, Forsman has built another excellent account of growing up via outsider behavior. (Jan.)