cover image The Cola Pop Creemees: Opening Act

The Cola Pop Creemees: Opening Act

Desmond Reed. Birdcage Bottom, $15 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-957795-20-1

Reed couples tragedy and whimsy in his debut, which was originally serialized as a webcomic. In seven short stories, Reed presents the lives of the five Cola Pop Creemees, bandmates drawn in psychedelic style (they live in a house shaped like a giant hand) who grapple with generational trauma, addiction, misogyny, and more. An early selection snapshots the dysfunction they faced as children with their peers and families, and each subsequent story demonstrates how foundational those unfortunate experiences were to their adult lives. Drummer Wallace T.J. has to decide between drugs and a child who represents a better future, ultimately choosing the former. Guitarist Gil Christopher struggles to connect with his father after his mother’s death. And keyboardist Henrietta Susan battles a looming, ever-present shadow that represents her inescapable depression. “Familial pain is just so contagious... generation after generation,” remarks Mona, the angsty singer-songwriter slash tambourine shaker. Yet, Reed’s trippy rendering of this eccentric crew with elongated bodies and squiggly limbs adds levity and uncanny depth. The juxtaposition results in an unexpected, oddly emotional gem. (Apr.)